SEARCH THIS SITE

Bible Reference Index

Diglot Editions

Dunash ben Labrat

Ali Ahmad Said

Verbal System of Ancient Hebrew

The Bible as seen through the eyes of . . .

« Teaching “The Bible and Current Events” Online | Main | I wait for, I weep, when the wheels of justice turn »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83454e67969e20148c8476d65970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution :

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Kyle Colvett

John,

My own church tradition has been primitivist, first, and ecumenical, second. In that, it has tended to read the Bible literally and, as staunch biblicists, strenuously intended to parse the "original meaning" of NT passages, usually under the guise of seeking the first-century church. I find it intriguing that several noted legal minds with ties to my church background; namely Kenneth Starr, Fred Thomspon, and Janice Rogers Brown; are Constitutional originalists.

Is there any parallel between seeking the original intention of the Founding Fathers for controversies in civil law and in seeking the original intention of the earliest church fathers for church order? I recognize that the stated method of seeking authority may not be the actual means of deriving opinion or setting policy, both in church and law, but the similarity of langauge and fervor is, at times, uncanny.

JohnFH

Kyle,

It's great to hear from you. I miss your blog of old.

There are traditions of interpretation that seek to "cut out the middleman," to use an analogy from economic life, or at least to challenge their standing. But that is hard to do.

For example, academics in a primitivist tradition might be thought to be natural Johnny-come-latelys who feel no connection to and attribute little importance to the history of interpretation. But then is Chris Heard, who confounds this presumption.

There seem to be factors at work beyond a local tradition, such as the need to adapt a prior text to new situations, that work in the direction of convergence, such that the practical difference between originalists and non-originalists is often minimal.

It might be helpful to look at specific examples.

Gary Simmons

One specific example would be the right to bear arms. Surely, this originally referred to muskets that could not be fired at the rapid pace of a modern pistol.

Advances in technology do require us to ask about the authors' intent, and what might be analogous in a world of "hand" guns that may be loaded and fired even in rainy weather and require significantly less reloading time.

Or, the intent behind allowing a militia. Clearly, a militia's purpose is to fend off local threats until the professional army arrives to finish the job. With the invention of vehicles, however, is it necessary to have a militia, given that it does not take days for the military to traverse the distance?

Discuss, class.

Seth L. Sanders

Note that Pelikan's idea is not original(ist): the anthropologist and scholar of hermeneutics Vincent Crapanzano came out with his Serving the Word: Literalism in America from the Pulpit to the Bench in 2001. Is Pelikan's book a response somehow?

Also "Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution" would be a crummy name for a weblog.

JohnFH

Hi Gary,

Interesting example. My first thought is that the idea of packing heat is so tied to the self-image of many Americans, and to what it means to be an American as opposed to something else, that appeals to the Constitution are necessary but also superfluous.

Films like the recent masterpiece by the Coen brothers play into this mythology.

I don't want to be a pessimist, but the best one might hope for probably are laws that make it harder for people with a record to obtain firearms.

JohnFH

Hi Seth,

No, Pelikan knew primary sources inside and out, and VIP colleagues in academia and law; sec literature much less.

Anthropology was not a field he specialized in; furthermore, in the volume I reference, Pelikan is classical rather than up-to-date in his dialogue with the output of law professors. For a generalist, Pelikan was well-read in New Testament studies, but not in Hebrew Bible / OT studies.

With respect to discussion among scholars of law, Steven D. Smith's review is helpful; Smith lists the following:

Sanford Levinson, Constitutional Faith 9-53 (1988); Thomas C. Grey, The Constitution as Scripture, 37 Stan. L. Rev. 1 (1984); Michael J. Perry, The Authority of Text, Tradition, and Reason: A Theory of Constitutional "Interpretation," 58 S. Cal. L. Rev. 551 (1985); Maimon Schwarzschild, Pluralist Interpretation: From Religion to the First Amendment, 7 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 447 (1996).

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Pelikan's essay is his appropriation of insights from John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine 206 (2d ed. 1989) (1878)). Newman's criteria for assessing interpretations include "preservation of its type; continuity of its principles; its power of assimilation; its logical sequence; anticipation of its future; conservative action upon its past; [and] its chronic vigor."

And here is a comment from our own Bernard Levinson:

"very little literature directly addresses the influence of the ancient Near East on modern constitutional thought, many scholars have applied analytical insights from the field of religious studies to the interpretation of the American Constitution. E.g., Jaroslav Pelikan, Interpreting the Bible & the Constitution (Yale University Press 2004) (a historian of religion applies the model of doctrinal development in religious tradition to the interpretation of the Constitution over time); Michael J. Perry, The Authority of Text, Tradition, and Reason: A Theory of Constitutional "Interpretation," 58 S. Cal. L. Rev. 551 (1985) (a legal scholar applies principles of biblical hermeneutics to the interpretation of the American Constitution). The importance of that sort of interdisciplinary dialogue cannot be overstated. However, this Article seeks to demonstrate a need for the dialogue between legal and religious studies on another point. Scholars such as Pelikan and Perry have made a significant contribution by demonstrating the value of applying the analytical methodologies of the study of scripture to the Constitution. This Article seeks to address the correspondence between the content of The Bible as a piece of ancient Near Eastern legal literature and modern constitutional government. The goal of such an inquiry is to foster historical inquiry into an often ignored source of political thought."

That's a note in his February, 2006, 27 Cardozo L. Rev. ARTICLE: THE FIRST CONSTITUTION: RETHINKING THE ORIGINS OF RULE OF LAW AND SEPARATION OF POWERS IN LIGHT OF DEUTERONOMY

I'm excerpting from Lexis Nexus of course.

Mitchell Powell

As to Kyle Cove's comment, I'm also -- over-simplifying my story and the complexities of Church History -- from the "Church of Christ" tradition. And I get ticked off to no end when, say, the commerce clause is used to outlaw marijuana or mandate the buying of insurance. You may be on to something there.

To Gary Simmons, I think there's far more to the constitutional right to bear arms than the fending off local threats till the professional army arrives. If I'm correctly reading the historical connotations that "free State" had, the goal of having the populace armed may well be so that they will serve as a counterweight to the "professional army," that is, the federal government. The people, then, would not be a handy but inferior substitute for the professional army, but rather their armed opposition. I think we gloss over that uncomfortable spot in the text the same way we ignore bits of the Bible we don't like -- of all the people I know who think they're strict biblical constructionists, not one has given a credible answer as to why the don't recommend that women keep their head covered during prayer. And the girls I know at the local Mennonite Church who do cover their don't pretend to be strict constructionists themselves.

Given that something like four fifths of guns used in violent crimes are bought illegally, I might be even more pessimistic than John Hobbins about the likelihood of curbing violence through gun restrictions. But I agree in principle about not letting violent felons run around with guns.

JohnFH

Hi Mitchell,

Pelikan makes a very different point than the one most people want to make. Whereas most people seem interested in determining whether strict constructionists or their opponents are more faithful to the document they interpret, Pelikan is looking for criteria on which to assess interpretations regardless of the school from which they emanate. I have yet to post on Pelikan's criteria appropriated from Newman.

Constructionists go literal when it suits them and non-literal if the literal meaning goes against the tradition they are upholding. Constructionists no less than their opponents pull rabbits out of scriptural hats; examples that come to mind are arguments for teetotaling and no instrumental music in worship from Scripture.

But you knew that already. I would guess that historically speaking, the four loci of interpretation of which Pelikan speaks have existed and continue to exist in the "Church of Christ" tradition. But theory is at odds with practice. Which may be a good thing. After all, as soon as theory matches practice, the result seems to be that scripture becomes even more domesticated to a traditional or "progressive" ideal.

Seth L. Sanders

Hi John,

If Pelikan's goal was to *describe* biblical and constitutional interpretation "in American society", as you say, and his chief qualification was an excellent knowledge of "primary sources," rather than having done insightful ethnography, that's a fine, crisp argument for the book's irrelevance.

Gary Simmons

I was wondering if anyone would take me to task! Yes, I admit I overstated my case in saying that it "clearly" refers to local defense against minor threats such as attacks by the natives. (Minor as opposed to native alliance or a British army attacking a small village, that is.)

I can sympathize with the reading that the militia is meant to keep the professional army (and thus the government) in check, but it would seem that there are other possible interpretations as to why the second amendment was written the way it was. The interpretation you mention, Mitchell, is certainly the commonsense one.

One thing to keep in mind is that the language of the Constitution is at some places purposefully vague. Quite likely, different persons voted to ratify the Bill of Rights with different motives for wanting a militia. No doubt the issue is more complex than it appears on the surface. Finding the original intent of the authors of a fallible document is rather dangerous, given that they engaged in a corporate authorship process. Their perspective was unified, but certainly not monolithic.

Yet again we find a parallel to biblical studies, though I see infallibility and inspiration within that particular work, the Bible nonetheless has unity within diversity. GJohn speaks a lot of keeping Jesus' commands, but rarely ever spells out what those are. The essence is presupposed. There is also no mention of loving your neighbor. The love is only focused inwardly toward the community in GJohn. This is a stark contrast from Luke and Matthew (and Mark?).

JohnFH

Seth,

You might want to take a look at Pelikan's volume.

For example, if you agree with Crapanzano that a literalist approach to texts as exemplified in evangelical Christianity on the religious side and in a "textualist" like Scalia on the legal side is "dangerous" (C's word), you will discover that Pelikan's appropriation of Newman's criteria levels the playing field.

As for Crapanzano's book, I was impressed by his attempt to understand the function of literalist approaches to Scripture. In light of the history of anthropology, I found his characterization of literalism as "nativist" delightful and full of irony.

What would C L-S say? http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2009/11/claude-l%C3%A9vistrauss-19082009-a-postpostcolonialist.html

Out of curiosity, I ran "Vincent Crapanzano" through Lexis Nexus and discovered that his book was largely ignored by legal scholars. I ran his name through ATLA and found the same lack of engagement, except for two reviews by evangelicals of his book, the one by Wilcox I've emailed to you.

It's a pity that C's meta-hermeneutic has not received more attention. But I think Wilcox is right that the book is easily read as just "another attack on religious anti-intellectualism by a dismissive and disdainful academia."

A truly productive phase of interdisciplinary research across the fields of law, religion, anthropology, and political theory has yet to see the light of day. Put another way, the way I see it, clear skies ahead for you.

JohnFH

Very nice, Gary.

I've been reading Midrash lately, an imaginative form of exegesis by all accounts (though in terms of a literal/non-literal divide, midrash falls on both sides). What I keep coming back to is how precise and predictable the results of the exegesis are: a coherent canonical interpretation of text in which the entire Tanakh and the metanarrative in which it is inscribed (the spiritual history of Israel seen through the eyes of the Sages) are understood to be a symphony with a single author and director (God). The range of techniques is predictable in terms of type, but completely random in terms of raw particulars.

All of this in a community which literalized everything in the Tanakh, from the totafot (AKA tefillin) in Deuteronomy to "resurrection" in Ezekiel, but nonetheless metaphorized everything (not just the Song of Songs) as well.

There is the same duality in more classical forms of Christianity such as Eastern Orthodoxy, traditional Catholicism, and evangelicalism. I won't deny that the duality is dangerous, but for the life of me I can't see why a robust religion would want to settle for one side only of the duality.

Seth L. Sanders

In truth, I had some of the same problems with Crapanzano as Wilcox did. I put some of this down in an old paper on Gibson's Passion that I gave to the Interdisciplinary Christianities workshop at U of Chicago --Bill Fulco liked it!

As a cosmopolitan and secularist anthropologist, there are some fantastic scenes where Crapanzano describes his discomfort at being witnessed that are worth the price of entry. Right now my law, anthropology and religion interests are focused on Priestly legislation and the idea of precise technical knowledge.

Also: modern law strikes me as hokey, precisely because behind it there tends to be someone either taking your money or locking you up.

JohnFH

And how is it that this precise technical priestly knowledge came to be part of the Torah, alongside a book like Deuteronomy so clearly addressed to the people as a whole?

Who is writing for whom in priestly legislation? It seems natural to assume that priests are writing with priests in mind. On the other hand, once priestly tradition is redacted and encapsulated by the Holiness "school," the implied addressee is no different than in the book of Deuteronomy. The instruction becomes a witness to (that category again) and judge of, priest and layman alike.

I look forward to the results of your interdisciplinary research.

Re modern law; it is petty and pathetic rather than an example of resolutive poetic justice. The ancient law of animal sacrifice and Yom Kippur seems humane, despite and even because of the stylized violence it instantiates, over against modern law as critiqued with great penetration by Foucault.

Nell 2


I agree completely with the final comment about criticism on the “interpretation of said texts” (Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution). American life revolves around both the Bible and the many documents printed to make up the norms for our society. America is the land of the free, and mostly anyone can pursue a life within the states. Therefore, all of the different nationalities have different backgrounds with previous lived norms. Because our land is free, people should have the right to allow input on their beliefs on how life can be made more positive here, as long as it is a good change.

Keeping the roots of America is important, but I don’t see anything wrong with enlightening a little bit of change, especially when the argument is for something backing up freedom. An example, previously mentioned in this article, is gay marriages (Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution). Seen through my eyes, one cannot control their feelings about another individual. We in America should have the freedom to disburse our feelings on love and participate in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony if our heart so desires.

JohnFH

Hi Nell 2,

Many would agree with you that people need to be free to allow their belief systems to be part of the debate in the public square, "as long as it is a good change."

That's the rub, of course. What constitutes good change? On many issues, disagreement is sharp. For example, a very large number of people are uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage. It was even voted down in California, one of the least conservative parts of the US.

Another matter: a few would argue that religious beliefs should have no role in the justification of law; arguments for or against a law must be framed in non-religious terms. A problem with this argument is that secular arguments for or against a law often seem to have an irreducibly philosophical foundation which depends on a notion of absolute truth. The absolute truth part is simply, for the purposes of discussion, swept under the rug. Maybe that is not the best solution.

The question of marriage - heterosexual, homosexual, polygynous (one husband, two or more wives) - is a contentious one. That you raise the question of gay marriage shows that you are taking the intersection of Bible and Current Events seriously.

There are few who are comfortable with the state, not to mention the religious organization they belong to, if any, permitting all three types of marriage listed: straight, gay, and polygynous. Why? On what grounds?

Your criterion, that one should be free to lavish one's feelings of love on whomever one chooses, is considered by all societies to date an insufficient organizing principle of family life. Various limits to "free love" are in place everywhere. The least controversial, though there are those who argue that these limits should be removed, include free love with minors and with one's children or sibs.

Furthermore, I'm guessing that you do not intend to suggest that adultery is fine between consenting adults; nor, I imagine, do you agree with incest between consenting adults. If so, the question is, how should adultery and incest be treated in the courts, if at all? Note that it is possible to hold that certain behaviors should be stigmatized, but nonetheless not be subject to legal consequences.

My point at the moment is that your criterion of "love whom you choose" quite probably is not the only one you subscribe to. If so, it becomes important to lay out and argue for one's criteria, in a way that is respectful of the opinion of those with whom one disagrees.

Seth L. Sanders

'And how is it that this precise technical priestly knowledge came to be part of the Torah... It seems natural to assume that priests are writing with priests in mind. On the other hand, once priestly tradition is redacted and encapsulated by the Holiness "school," the implied addressee...'

What are you, reading my mind? Informed by the work of people like Simi Chavel and Naphtali Meshel, and some of the things I've been getting out of Priestly narratives about texts, this is just what I'm inching towards.

JohnFH

Seth,

What we are talking about is a natural segue to some of the things you get at in "The Invention of Hebrew." I'm just a horse you led to water.

Praying with Lior 2


A wonderful summary on such a large topic! The passages from the bible were well selected.

After I read the paragraph that discussed how the past, present, and future are all interconnected, it made me think of how this is still true today in many cases. People's pasts, the values and beliefs that were instilled in them throughout their life, reflect who they are today. The decisions that they make today will determine their future, and their future ultimately depends on the decisions they have made throughout their life and the values they have formed along the way. I believe that the prophets of the bible such as Moses were raised in such a way that allowed them to put a huge amount of faith in God, who is a mystical being to many of us. The past events of their lives led to a more meaningful future for themselves and an improved future for many others.

Nell 2

JohnFH,

You raise good points, however, I believe you came to some extreme conclusions. Adultery and incest are moral issues that yes, have to do with having the freedom to be with whoever you love, but these two issues are over the top. A person can control their “adulterous actions”, and if the feeling is so strong they have the option to divorce to be with the person they desire. Yes, someone cannot control who they love but, arguing the case of incest, if two family members were to reproduce, studies have shown that there may be severe mental deformities. That raises another moral issue that could be regarded as child abuse.

I understand where you are coming from, but the point I was trying to get across was not considering moral issues. Rather, the uncontrollable feelings God gave us. Ultimately anyone can do anything whether or not there are consequences involve, but the free choice I am speaking of is the one that we cannot do things to stop the emotions.

The Mission 2

I think that both Nell 2 and JohnFH make good points about the idea of gay marriage. The idea of free love, at first, does seem very logical and inherently right, but does open up discussion about where that free love may lead. My class on human sexuality definitely taught me that ideas like bestiality, incest, and love between adults and minors are not as far and few between as many (including myself at that time) believe (although still rare).
I cannot recall who said it, but it was talked about a lot in the news (and mocked on the Daily Show) that gay marriage may lead to marriage between people and animals. This idea, at first, seems ridiculous but is what can be discussed with the "free love" argument. The conversation got to this point when it was brought up that gay people should be allowed to marry because the law shouldn't control who one may love but then opened up to questions like "What about incestuous couples that love each other?" "A man that really loves his dog?" "A 13 year old girl in love with her 40 year old teacher?" I think that this is where the free love argument needs more substance.
I think it is also reasonable to point out that the law does permit the love between same genders. We are fortunate enough to be in a society where it is not a crime just for being gay, which has not always been the case throughout the world. While this a small victory, it is something. I'm definitely not saying "Just be happy with that and be quiet." That is the opposite of what I'm trying to say. I'm an advocate of gay marriage, myself. I'm just repeating a response I've heard to the "free love" argument that the government does not keep gay people from loving each other, just from being married. Obviously, though, this is not enough for the gay community.

JohnFH

N 2 and M 2,

Discussion of the issue of gay marriage is entirely appropriate in a comment thread on interpreting the Bible and the Constitution. There are judges who hold that gay marriage is a right the US Constitution supports, on the principle of "equal protection under the law."

But that raises the question: does polygamy, widely practiced in the world today after all, also deserve equal protection under the law?

How does one decide what kind of love deserves equal protection under the law?

N 2 argues against incest being accorded equal protection given the increased likelihood of genetic deformities. That's a reasonable argument, but those who argue that incest is an outmoded taboo point out that that the potential problem is resolvable by pre-natal testing.

All societies, like all religions, privilege some forms of love relationships and discourage others. Those discouraged are the ones that are considered less than ideal all the way to "over the top."

We can be sure the debate will continue. The issues at stake will be discussed further on these threads.

Pulp Fiction 3

If you go by the US Constitution like JohnFH states it says "equal protection under the law." So if you go by what the constitution says it would only seem right if polygamy deserved equal protection.

Will polygamy ever get that? I do not believe it ever will. People are so stuck on the social "norms" if you will, believing that a marriage should just be between one male and one female and that is it.

Think about how much was in the news and TV about the legalization of gay marriage and how much opposition people have on it.

I believe gay marriage, polygamy, and any other marriage that is not between one male and one female will always be criticized even though the constitution says it should be otherwise.

JohnFH

Hi Pulp Fiction 3,

For many and even for all people, the Constitution is understood to stand behind and promote social norms. For one person, the idea that the Constitution protects the right of someone to have as many wives as he wishes seems foolish. It would also have seemed silly to the authors of the Constitution.

The territory which is now the state of Utah had to forswear polygamy before it could be accepted into the Union. It is certain that it was the nearly unanimous opinion at the time, and to this day, that "equal protection under the law" was not meant to protect polygamy.

A similar line of argument is deployed by those who are convinced that the Constitution does not guarantee protection for gay marriage.

True Grit 2

Hi,
Going off the notion of “Free Love” from the constitution and JohnFH I believe the constitution was purposely vague for the very fact that how can you limit love for people with different religions and different beliefs. Now saying that when the constitution was being written gay marriage and other forms of love was probably not even a topic.

All of this also depends on if you look at the constitution as a document that is written to be broad and flexible to accommodate social and technological change over time or not.

I believe you have to accommodate for social and technological changes because lives are completely different than they use to be. This vagueness is a problem for topics like “Free Love” because how do you make guidelines for that. There will always be the minority fighting for their rights.

Truman Show 2

I think that interpreting the Bible and the Constitution in today’s society can be very difficult. For example, when Pelikan notes that ‘Scripture is used to present the character of the speaker ,” can in many cases be ineffective today because of the number of people who don’t read or believe in the bible. Knowing a lot of Scriptures and their meanings could present very strong ethos for a speaker, but you can’t establish pathos with someone who doesn’t know what you are talking about. It would also be very hard to seem logical (establish logos) if the person/ audience has different beliefs than you because they think you are being bias on the subject. If your audience cannot relate to you your creditability is destroyed. I believe with many of you, that the constitution is a little vague on many topics which, is still setting the stage for new enigmas. Due to the many changes in the world since the constitution has been written it might very well be necessary to make very small and specific changes to prevent future problems.

Breaker Morant 5

I would like to go off of True Grit 2’s point about looking at the constitution and deciding if it was written to be “flexible” or not. I believe that it was written in a way so that down the line we could make changes to it when needed. The “Free love” point in the constitution is a good way to leave the idea of marriage open to interpretation. However, leaving points like this open to interpretation will automatically cause arguments over who’s interpretation shall become law. Who is to say who can and can’t get married?

I think the points about polygamy are interesting. I always thought of polygamy as a negative type of love, but if people choose to be a part of that kind of relationship shouldn’t that fall under the “free love” idea?

Another thought I have is that the Bible was obviously a big part of the founding fathers’ lives. So it is no surprise that it was written with the scripture in mind. However, we hear the phrase, “Separation of church and state” often. Where does church end and state begin? The constitution mentions, “free love” so that must mean anyone (Homosexuals, polygamists…etc) has the right to marry whomever they want. Same sex marriage still isn’t legal in all 50 states. How much can the bible influence laws today? What exactly does “Separation of church and state” mean?

Dead Man Walking 2

I would like to keep going where Breaker Morant 5 left off. The final point that they made I think is the most important part of this discussion. The constitution lays down the separation of church and state and there for even if the constitution was based on the Bible one cannot base anything regarding laws and interpretation of the constitution on the Bible because of this separation. I would also like to add this consideration to the mix why would one assume that the constitution is based off of the bible? Many of the “laws” in the Bible have been set down way before the Bible and constitution were even written. An example of this would be the Code of Hammurabi which not only set down many laws or the bases of laws that we still use today, but was also written, to the best of my knowledge, before the Bible.

JohnFH

An advantage of having a text from a bygone epoch serve as a foundation and resource for contemporary life is that interpretation and application to a different set of circumstances are necessary. This opens up room for debate.

In practice, that means that the Constitution on its own does not settle the question of whether the state should privilege monogamy over polygamy or give both kinds of family units equal protection under the law.

A common reason given for giving no protection under the law to polygamy is that polygamy contradicts the notion of equal rights. On this view, polygamy, however useful as a wealth-creating mechanism in traditional societies, by definition and in practice extends fewer rights to women than to men.

My purpose in bringing up the example is to show that it is to be expected that a whole series of values come into play when assessing whether a certain kind of lifestyle should enjoy the protection of the law.

The notion that we don't need to worry about values, but that people should be free do whatever they want, collapses under the weight of countless examples in which virtually everyone would agree that limits must be placed on expression. The limits, therefore, are a matter of debate.

As far as church-state separation is concerned, it is supposed to work both ways. That is, no church is supposed to be able to impose its views on the state against the will of the majority of its citizens. Likewise, the state is not supposed to be able to impose its views on a church and its members, or on other free associations.

For example, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot force the Boy Scouts to allow gay Scout leaders. If the Scouts are going to do that, it has to be their decision. It would be a violation of the separation of church and state to argue otherwise.

Of course, on these and many other matters people disagree. Appeal to concepts of right and wrong drawn from the Bible, the Constitution, and/or some other source will naturally be brought to bear. So-called trump cards like "equal protection" and "separation of church and state" are rarely that.

For example, on an issue like abortion, that separation of church and state is invoked to protect the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy will seem ludicrous to many, given that, if a fetus of the same gestational stage were killed along with the mother by a shooter, the shooter would be liable for the deaths of both.

Another example: can a court force parents whose religion forbids them to make use of blood transfusion to be forced to do so in order to save the life of their child? What card trumps that of the separation of church and state in this case?

Ikedi

There are many rules and regulations here about interepreting the bible which can help, but it is also important to know that the true help is the Messiah and his spirit.

The mission 4

I would like to go back to Nell 2’s comment and I am in agreement with them. I like the basic question of same sex marriage. Many people who don’t want to talk about the subject will jump to radical ideas to gain a common disagreement on the subject. I think the idea of gay marriage is interesting because of its foundation. By this I simply mean that homosexuality is not something that grows on a person. You also have to look at the origins of love which was created and designed by god. I also don’t agree that gay marriage should be grouped with all forms of other free love. In the US our “normal standard of marriage” is also a form of free love also since we do not practice forced or prearranged marriages anymore.

Shawshank Redemption 3

Even though the Bible and religion is most definitely used in politics, I’m not sure if it truly has a place or not. I’m not a person who follows politics, but I am a Christian. Even though I don’t know much about politics, I can still see that there are many issues on the subject of separation of church and state. I agree that there should be a separation between church and state. For example, the issue of same sex marriage which is still illegal in some states. I see marriage in two ways, legally and religiously. Even when a couple gets married at a church, they still need to go to a courthouse to make it legal to be able to be seen as a married couple by the government. As far as I know, there is no courthouse needed to be seen as married in the eyes of God. I don’t see why same sex marriage can’t be legal in every state. If you take the church part out of marriage, then there really isn’t any issue at all.

Lior A

This is a very interesting entry about such a hot topic in today’s society. After reading through the many comments, I was quite interested with the discussion created by Nell 2. While I whole-heartedly agree with the fact that America is a nation that is filled with many people from different backgrounds, I still am not sure how it is possible to change what are America’s roots in order to fit with the more diverse beliefs of the people. I feel like much of what change to the Constitution citizens are wanting in our modern nation is somewhat radical because we cannot come to terms with what is good and what is bad. I feel that America is semi-rooted in the Bible and religion because it is something that defines what is wrong and what is right and gives us an outline for our lives. We still have our freedom of choice, which is a gift from God, but we need guidelines. The Constitution serves as a great equalizer and allows us to be free, but with these “guidelines” to use in order to live life happily in a free and prosperous country.

True Grit 4

I find the parallels between the Constitution and the Bible to be interesting. It interesting how both of them give us rules to live by. I think that the Founding Fathers drew inspiration from the Bible when coming up with the Constitution.

Not all of them where Christian. In fact a lot of them were deists. They still believed in a greater power however and you can see that in a lot of things in US history. The phrase In God We Trust appears on our money and in several of our documents God is referenced. I have even read that some of the Forefathers thought of America as a New Jerusalem so to speak.

The Truman Show 5

When it comes to the Bible and Politics, I believe the two should never be mixed. The Bible is holy and above all contains the ten basic rules for humanity to live by. Where as Politics, try to manipulate peoples beliefs to "improve" society. While some politics are useful, most legislations take to long to finalize that they rarely are ever seen. God's constitution is simple and easily understood, where as Politics are hard to understand and are continually changing. Again, I believe that they should be separate so that they do not contradict each other, and that political parties do not use the Bible to try to change peoples beliefs by manipulating their views on controversial topics.

JohnFH

Future posts will delve further into the question of marriage, and why both states and religions have always privileged some forms of love, discouraged others, and criminalized still others.

One way to begin thinking about the topic is to list the forms of love (1) the Bible privileges; the forms it discourages; the forms it prohibits; (2) the same in American law and custom; (3) in your book, so to speak.

It might seem a happy solution to keep the Bible out of politics, but that won't work for those who model their convictions on what they think the Bible teaches. From their point of view, the wellbeing of their country and the world will depend on whether at least the basic ethical teachings of the Bible are upheld. What are these basic teachings?

Likewise, those who develop a philosophy of law and society without reference to the Bible have deep moral convictions that are as opinionated as that of a religious believer. It is not difficult to show that differences of opinion about hot topics, from abortion to capital punishment to gay marriage to going to war depend on an appeal, covert or direct, to highly philosophical notions of things like self, subjectivity, right and wrong, freedom, and necessary limits to freedom.

A note about the US as the new Jerusalem, or, as Winthrop put it, "a city set on a hill," or, as President Clinton put it, "a place called hope," or, as Noam Chomsky put it, "the best country in the world."

All of these statements are examples of myth in Bruce Lincoln's sense: "ideology in narrative form." The only question is, is it a true myth?

Nell 4

The Bible and Constitution have many similarities, but the two shouldn’t be intertwined. There are reasons for this. All Americans just need to do, is understand the separation of the church and state in why it is so important and actually understanding what the Constitution means and guarantees us. I think the Bible and Constitution have too many myths the way it is. Each should be left alone as the Bible and the Constitution, not the two combined, because then it keeps digging controversial issues.

JohnFH

Nell 4,

When you talk about the separation of church and state, are you referring to the establishment clause in the First Amendment?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

I simply want to point out how difficult it is to apply such a broad principle in practice.

On the one hand, this clause is the basis on which health care workers are allowed to refuse to participate in an abortion. On the other hand, if someone says their religion allows them to have as many wives as they want and that polygamists should be given equal protection under the law, their demands are rejected.

What I am trying to emphasize is that it is inevitable that people have very different ideas about rights and responsibilities, on both religious and non-religious grounds.

A degree of separation of church and state attenuates some of the flash points of conflict, but cannot eliminate them.

To ask believers, furthermore, to refrain from suggesting that their faith has political consequences for them is a non-starter. It is normal for everyone to want laws that uphold their sense of order, goodness, and truth.

If that didn't matter to people, revolutions would never happen, and new constitutions would never be written.

It is also true that believers will try to formulate reasons for their opinions in terms non-believers can accept; furthermore, non-believers will formulate their opinions in ways believers can accept. Finally, believers and non-believers disagree among themselves on many things.

If the above paragraphs are accurate, it is important for us all, even we do not adhere to a particular faith - for example, I do not adhere to Islam - to try to make sense out of appeals to faith by believers in the public square. Such appeals are not going away. It is best we learn to engage with them.

Breaker Morant

It is hard for people to separate the Bible and all these constitutions. In my Advanced Composition class last semester, we discussed about morality and school. It is pretty similar in which how much "morality" should teachers (or school administrators, etc.) imply in the classrooms. Because what some students may believe is morally wrong might not be for others, which is why we have rules in the classrooms. But as we all know, rules are not always followed. Our beliefs or morals are instilled in us and it is hard to breakaway from them. I think that no matter how much we try to separate things, they will somehow be intertwined.

Ikedi

The interpretation of the bible can be done by the individual, but a teacher is always a good addition, even if the teacher is not always teaching and interpreting the way a listen may see it, just to hear the words read from the bible can be a great teaching tool.

Fo instance many say that the bible doesn't contradict itself, but the bible its self never made this claim it says that no

Isaiah 34:16 (King James Version)

16Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath

So knowing this we know that if we find slight inconsistencies within the historical books such as Chronicles or Kings, it is because they are witnesses to the events just like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not always explain things exactly the same.

But when we see prophecy the things said will always come to pass no matter what. Peace and keep spreading the words

You can find out How to iinterpret the bible by doing the required studies your self

JohnFH

Ikedi,

It's nice of you to comment here, but your comment seems mostly off topic, its primary purpose being to link to your church's website. Just saying.

Pulp Fiction 4

The Bible and Constitution together is a very controversial topic. I feel that they should be separated. I believe that everyone should have a good understanding of how both are important in our lives, but they are too different on many levels. I believe that from the Bible point, God has a set of ten simple rules for us to obey throughout life, and when you start bringing politics into it, it makes things way more complicated to understand.

Ikedi

I think that if I provide information on a site a link, back to my site is not too much to ask for, you comments was totally out of order, you can delete my link if you like!

By the way men have seperated church and state, God never seperated anything. The stories in the bible are true history, empires ruled. When the Israelites, under Solomon and the 12 tribes ruled, this was a time when Gods Laws and the "so called" state (the people) were one. Today we see the last kindom foretold in the book of daniel in full effect, that is the western world powers.

In the bible Eygptian, Israelites, medes persian, babylonians, and today what can be loosly be called an extension of the Roman empire started by Alexander the "great", and its diverse kingdoms, who are all trying to come together as one are ruling.... the next kingdom is the kingdom of God and the Messiahs second coming...

People who start there sentences off with "I believe" truly dont know know the bible, it has been left as a testimony and blueprint about what has happened and what is going to happen.

Proverbs 3:5

5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Jeremiah 17:9

9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

God can know, all this talk of I believe is just excuse making....


Just as kingdoms are being esptrablished with force tday the Messiah will being using force when he takes back his earth...

Earthquakes, tsuanmis, this are not just random acts of mother nature, and death is nt the worse thing that can happen to a man, not knowing God and repentance is the worse thing a man can do. The world an media give emphasis to tradegies as if they are the end, lets hear frm the Great man himself on this issue

Luke 13:1-5

1There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

2And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

3I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

4Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

5I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The founding fathers, are the ancestors of those that fulfilled this prophecy and killed the Messiah

Daniel 9:27

27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

destroying the Second Kingdom, in Jerusalem, and picking and choosing the parts of the scriptures they like, the very scriptures they misappropriated from the very people (Israelites)they destroy and despised, because of their adherence to the Laws of God....

Exodus 20 is MANS (church and state) constitution why not try them, have faith and wait for the true kingdom of God

Peace (no link this time, you happy?)

JohnFH

Ikedi,

It's helpful to have the link. That way I know and readers of this thread know what your outfit is called and we can avoid it like the plague.

Your reasoning is so full of holes, your prose so ungrammatical, your diction so inappropriate, it is hard to know where to begin.

Nell 1

I agree with an early statement made by Truman Show 5, the Bible and Politics should not be mixed. The Bible was written through the prophets of God and is considered to be holy and no flaws. The Bible contains the Ten Commandments by which humans are to live by. These commandments are easy for us to understand and there is no room for debate or change. On the contrary, the Constitution and politics seem to attempt to control and change the society to make it perfect, even though it will never be that way. Politics are always changing and there is always room for debate. Our government and politics will never please everyone at the same time. I do not feel that the Bible and the Constitution would ever be mixed. People interpret the Bible differently and may even read different books of the Bible. If everyone is reading the Bible differently, there is no way that the Constitution will be made to please everyone and their beliefs.

Dead Man Walking 3

When I look at the bible I find so many different ways to look at one passage. That differs when you read the constitution, if there were multiple ways to look at it so many people would be getting away with murder and other acts of crime. The Bible is a big mystery in every way the reader takes it. I’m glad it is left as a mystery and nothing can be added to it now. The Constitution on the other hand is still growing. When it was written it is amazing that most of the issues that were written about, are still big issues today. The world is changing and technology is changing so things need to be added to keep up with the times. From Terrorism, technology, and biology the new leaders of the US see what needs to be added or changed.

Nell6

This is a very good summary of this topic. Almost everything about our lives has something to do with the Bible and these other important scriptures in our American history. Everything we do in our daily lives can be related back to something in one of the scriptures and that is part of what I believe is what helps us to make the important decisions in our lives. What we do in our future is also going to be strongly determined by what we have read over the year from the Bible and for those who have never read the Bible and do not believe in what it says they are still making decisions that come from information they would get from the Bible. This is all because the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and all of the other important Scriptures have a lot of basis from the Bible.

Shawshank Redemption 4

"It also the case, as Levi notes, that “[a] constitution cannot prevent change,” but change, however controversial, such as allowing or disallowing gay marriage or specific activities on the Sabbath, is only possible through appeal to the Bible or the Constitution" I am confused by this statement. Is he saying that the only way to approve gay marriage is to look at the bible? Because if that is the case then I don't agree with him at all. It is relies souly on the constitution since it there is a law forbidding gay marriage. If you could clarify this for me to make that would be great.

Dead Man Walking 5

I agree with Dead Man Walking 3, you can interpret the bible in so many ways, but the constitution is a strict set of rules that have to be followed. If people could just "interpret the constitution" their own way, there would be chaos. I think that is the main reason why there is so many differences of opinion between people in politics. Everyone takes their religion into politics, and it becomes one huge mess. I think that if more people keep religion and politics separate, then we could make better decisions as a country.

Corey Schmitz

I disagree with that assessment. I don't believe that the constitution is black and white just like the bible isn't black and white. There are many things about the constitution that are interpreted differently. One is the right to bear arms. Some say that it gives us a right to have guns any time, while others say that it is only for maintaining a standing militia. Separation of church and state is another. Some say that religion should be completely removed from any government whatsoever. Others say that it just means that the government cannot impose a nation religion. Other opinions range from anywhere in between.

Pulp Fiction 2

I feel that interpreting the Bible and the Constitution is just that, interpreting. There is no one right way to know what either the Bible or the Constitution mean. We can look back through history and gain a good understanding about what was probably meant and why the authors wrote what they wrote but as time continues and years pass, the way society lives, acts, and interprets these written words are bound to change. That is why in the government we have the Supreme Court (to interpret the Constitution) and why religion has rabbis, pastors, and priests (to interpret the Bible or Torah). But there is even a flaw in this arrangement because these appointed people are just that, people. They will interpret how they feel the words should be interpreted based on their views and life experiences and these will changed between each Supreme Court Justice, rabbi, pastor, or priest that is asked to interpret; and as stated before, will change as time passes. I believe interpretation evolves just as we as people evolve and therefore even if a unanimous decision is made on what one verse or law means today, it only takes time for that decision to be again questioned and reinterpreted.

breaker morant 2

Interpretation can mean many things. Quite frankly, one's interpretation of the bible or a certain verse, can be completely opposite of the next person's. Each individual interprets the bible as they see it and take out of it what they want. To pull something out of context and try to figure out what God meant by this, or what he want's us to, everyone's answers are different. This goes to show that everyone is different, everyone thinks differently, and that God purposefully created this "confusion" so to speak.

True Grit 4

I agree with Pulp Fiction 2, in that there really isn't one set way to say that the Constitution means this and it's tied into scripture in this way. I think this definitely goes back to Ian Young's statement on how we need to stop pretending we know everything about the Bible and all of it's interpretations. The more we try to believe that we know everything about it, the more likely we are to jump to conclusions about what a certain political document, like the constitution, or saying, or even what a candidate believes in if they are very open with their religious beliefs in certain situations.

deadmanwalking2

I agree with this growth of this conversation towards not knowing exactly what the Bible means and all of its interpretations. But no matter what we can't ignore the fact that there are many similarities to the Bible as there are to the Constitution. But as literature standards go, even though the Bible is finished, the people who read it are still evolving. There will always be different interpretations. And same with the Constitution. It will always be read differently even though it's still "growing." How we read Jane Eyre today is different from how Charlotte Bronte's peers read it. I believe it is the same concept. As for politics, when candidates use the Bible as a reference, I think that they use it to gain a feeling of wholeness over the crowd, a moral structure, and an unified country, which is something religion does... unites people in various ways. I don't believe that it is neither right or wrong for them to do it. We can't stop people from making conclusions about candidates beliefs, but then again why would we? It's America. That candidate has every right to use religion...

The Mission 2

I agree with deadmanwalking2 and True Grit 4, there is no possible way to understand the Bible in its entirety. Concepts like the Trinity, Creation, and Jesus being True Man and True God are incomprehensible. As part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, I believe and have faith that these concepts are true, but I have no way of explaining exactly why. Many different religions use the Bible as their basis for their teachings, and everyone interprets the Bible in a slightly different way. Candidates do have a right to use religion, as deadmanwalking2 mentioned, but because of the different interpretations, what the candidates use can and will be interpreted diversely by different people of different religious views. As an example, the passage President Obama used in his 9/11 speech (“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”) could be interpreted in different ways depending on how 9/11 affected each individual who heard President Obama’s speech.

Nell 5

Mission 2, Deadmanwalking2 and True Grit 4, I agree with your opinions on subject entirely. There is no possible way to understand the Bible in its entirety. Every interpretation will be different based on a persons beliefs as well as where or how they grew up. For example, one may look to the Bible for comfort, another, may look solely for answers. The same can be said about the Constitution. Politicians, judges, etc. look to the Constitution for answers and interpret things differently. There really is no right or wrong way to interpret these two texts, just like there is no right or wrong way to feel about these texts.

Breaker Morant 1

I agree with The Mission 2 on the comment about Obama. What someone else's thoughts are about what he said doesn't mean that someone else will take in the information the same way. In relation to the blog about "Thinking We Know Everything About the Bible," we all have different interpretations. Therefore everyone is going to have different thoughts about how the Constitution and the Bible are related. They are related in some ways and in other ways they are not. People continue to have evolving thoughts about both readings, which leads to bigger and more complex meanings.

Truman Show 4

It really is funny how comparable the original "scripture" of our great country is to the Holy Scripture, the Bible. The fact that most of our forefathers believed in God goes to show that this probably isn't mere coincidence. Those men were smart enough to know how long lasting the Bible was at that time (and of course it is even more so now) so I'm sure they had the laws and ideas of the Bible in mind when they penned the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and so on. If only the New Atheists of our time would realize that they wouldn't be able to express their thoughts and true beliefs freely without persecution, because of men centuries ago that were believers in God and the Bible. Then maybe they'd realize that perhaps the Bible isn't just a book of stories.

Dead Man Walking 5

There are many parallels between the Bible and the Constitution and it is interesting how the founding fathers drew some of their inspiration from the Bible when writing the constitution. Many of the founding fathers were not even Christian although they drew a lot of stuff to the Constitution with the Bible. Some of the things include statements like “In God we trust” on a lot of documents in America’s history.

True Grit 3

Religious statements and influence do show up in American history and more specifically the Constitution. The founding fathers did take a lot of inspiration from the bible and its teachings and put it into a public document. This was what the norm of the time was, taking advice and inspiration from something you believe to be what is good and right, which many people of the day thought God and the Bible was. It is still seen throughout out public documents and political views today.

True Grit 2

I agree with true grit 3 and the article! The Constitution and the Bible clearly have to be similar and pertain to one another. As I was reading this article, I thought of several things that also help the argument. My thoughts included the Pledge of Allegiance, money and the President. The Pledge of Allegiance clearly states, “One Nation under God,” This is saying we are faithful to our country but only under God. Therefore we do not break the commandment; you shall have no other gods before me (Deut. 5:7). When writing The Pledge of Allegiance, they were thinking of God so they must have considered what the bible says while writing the constitution.
Money is also a great example of how our country uses God and the Bible in politics. It says on every dollar bill, “In God we trust.” Money is made by the government thus proving even more that they are related. I also wanted to mention President Obama. He swore into presidency using a bible and uses verses in his speeches. He has to be using his faith to guide decisions that he makes. I am not saying every president was a believer but in my opinion you can tell by the way they lead the country and by the choices they make.

Dead man walking 4

I agree with True Grit 2, the Bible and the Constitution go hand and hand. Both are old writing that have very many interruptions and are huge factors that play a role in everyone’s daily lives. Both of these scriptures are questioned because of when they were written. Times now are drastically different and people try to look at the meanings from all angles to makes sense of how their lives and problems connect to original text. For clarifications we have a “The hierarchy with their robes and decrees” in both the church and court systems. The masses challenge and create controversy around these two items because they are probably the biggest influences how one can live and want to figure out the proper meanings behind them.

Shawshank 2

As I was reading this article and many of the posts, I noticed that many people felt that the Bible and the Constitution along with political usage of the Bible, were used because that was or is socially accepted. I am not saying that is wrong but does anyone else think that maybe Bible is used so much in Constitution and the political society because of fear? My reasoning being this, leaders then and now may have a fear in their conscience memory bank that if God’s word is not used as a foundation to start a new beginning or continue a way of life than maybe God will condemn them and that nation. I am not saying this is the right way to think but maybe, had they not used the Bible than they would have guilt, worry, and if something bad had happened, then it would be the result of God not being happy with them for doing so. Second Samuel 23:4-5 states that” The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of the morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.” Reading words like these may have had a deep influence on political leaders then and now.

Pulp Fiction 6

Interpreting the Bible or the constitution these days is not something you hear about as often as you used to. These days I feel as though people got to church more because they are either forced to by their parents or because they think it makes them a good person. But if someone doesn't believe in the word of God, or has no faith either way, whether it be a religion or their beliefs, I feel that they are not getting anything out of church except for making their parents happy. I find this true more often than not in most places these days, at least from where I am from this is the case. I find that understanding the bible is a task in itself because it is lengthy and hard to follow, but if you understand how to read it and follow the information it is a great tool and an excellent word to live by.

Dead Man Walking 6

America seen through most eyes is considered the land of the free. That is a reason my family wanted to come over here to start a new life. Therefore, not only my family, but all of the different nationalities have different backgrounds with previous standard patterns of life. Because our land is free, people should have the right to expand their thoughts or beliefs on life to make their existence more creative and worthy. American life revolves around both the Bible and the Constitution to make up the norms for our society. I understand that the Constitution is important to have for checks and balances, but sometimes the Constitution as well as the Bible is taken too literally. For an example, gay marriage is an issue of concern in this article (Interprets the Bible and the Constitution). We cannot control our feelings about another individual, yet many people feel or believe that is unacceptable, based on the Bible’s interpretation of homosexuality. That is okay because no matter right or wrong, in America we have the freedom to express our thoughts. Again, why do we live in America? For freedom? The answer would be YES. So, we should have freedom to disburse our feelings on love and live with whom we love.

Praying with Lior 2

It is my opinion that the paragraphs in Jaroslav Pelikan’s book, Interpreting the Bible and the Constitution, that are in the blog entry do an excellent job drawing our attention to the similarities between the Bible and important documents in United States history. The founding fathers of the United States were religious men and knew the importance of the lessons that Bible taught us. When looking for a foundation to start a country on, it is no surprise that they turn to the Bible for guidance.

Nell 3

Understanding the Bible and Constitution and considering them to be a part of our lives is an important aspect of life because they do go hand in hand. Not everyone is going to consider the importance of both the Bible and the Constitution but they are important because each one helps us find the way to our freedom. I believe the Bible and the Constitution help us make the choices we make along the paths we lead to help us to make the choices we do.
Not everyone is going to believe in everything that the Constitution and the Bible mean and stand for but in order for us to be our each individual person we have to have a happy medium. Checking ourselves and what we and the life around us stand for. Individually we all stand for something and we each are individually our own but we individually come together to stand up for what we stand for and believe in. Not only is the Constitution apart of what our country is today but the Bible also has laid a path to life.

Breaker Morant 6

The Bible is a source of guideline for believer’s spiritual life. The Constitution is a source of guideline for American’s freedom. The Bible is for all people to partake, study, and practice, however, the Constitution is for only American Citizens. These two should be kept interpreted separately. It is true that the founder fathers were influenced by the Bible, yet this document, the Constitution, was forged out of the problems that arise in America. The Constitution is there to solve the problems that America faced in the 1700’s but the Bible was written over a span of thousands of years and is applicable to anyone in any time. The Constitution being changed throughout time, but the Bible remain unchanged yet only understood more fully as new things are being discovered in archeology, history, and as men seek God more in their lives.

TheMission4

I was honestly shocked at how similar the Bible is to the Constitution when it comes to interpretation. I've known the Constitution was difficult to interpret because in high school that was a hot topic in my history classes. The idea of the Bible being difficult to interpret exactly kind of worries me because of the amount of people that live their lives based on what it says. But it does make sense that there are so many branches of Christianity if the Bible can be difficult to interpret. From what I know about some of the bigger branches is that there are very few differences and they mainly come from wording in the Bible. I feel like so much can be lost when translating it to English or any other language and with time comes the changing and different usage of words. And if you think about it, that is the main problem with the Constitution, that the wording is outdated and difficult to understand.

justin bieber supra shoes

So cute! I already like you on FB and also get your posts on Google Reader. :)

elliptical reviews

No offense, but if there's a facebook like button, it'll be much easier for me to share.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Google Blogrolls

a community of bloggers

  • Abnormal Interests
    Intrepid forays into realia and texts of the Ancient Near East, by Duane Smith
  • After Existentialism, Light
    A thoughtful theology blog by Kevin Davis, an M. Div. student at University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • AKMA's Random Thoughts
    by A. K. M. Adam, Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow
  • alternate readings
    C. Stirling Bartholomew's place
  • Ancient Hebrew Grammar
    informed comment by Robert Holmstedt, Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, and John Cook, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore KY)
  • Antiquitopia
    one of the best blogs out there, by Jared Calaway, assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University.
  • Anumma - Hebrew Bible and Higher Education
    by G. Brooke Lester, Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible, and Director for Emerging Pedagogies, at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston IL)
  • Awilum
    Insightful commentary on the Bible and the Ancient Near East, by Charles Halton
  • AWOL - The Ancient World Online
    notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world, by Charles Jones of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
  • Balshanut
    top-notch Biblical Hebrew and Semitics blog by Peter Bekins, Ph. D. student, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati OH, faculty member, Wright State University (archive)
  • Believing is Knowing
    Comments on things like prophecy, predestination, and reward and punishment from an orthodox Jewish perspective, by David Guttmann
  • Ben Byerly's Blog
    thoughts on the Bible, Africa, Kenya, aid, and social justice, by Ben Byerly, a PhD candidate at Africa International University (AIU), in Nairobi, Kenya working on “The Hopes of Israel and the Ends of Acts” (Luke’s narrative defense of Paul to Diaspora Judeans in Acts 16-20)
  • Berit Olam
    by a thoughtful Matt Morgan, Berkeley CA resident, grad student in Old Testament at Regent University, Vancouver BC (archive)
  • Better Bibles Blog
    Discussion of translation problems and review of English Bible translations by Wayne Leman, Iver Larsen, Mike Sangrey, and others
  • Bibbia Blog
    A Bible blog in Italian and English by former students of the PIB and PUG
  • Bible Background research and commentary
    by Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Bible Design & Binding
    J. Mark Bertrand's place
  • BiblePlaces Blog
    a spotlight on the historical geography of the Holy Land, by Todd Bolen, formerly, Assistant Professor at the Israel Bible Extension campus of The Master's College, Santa Clarita CA
  • Biblicalia
    The riches of orthodoxy brought online by Kevin Edgecomb, a seminarian at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline MA)
  • Biblische Ausbildung
    by Stephen L. Cook, professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible at Virginia Theological Seminary
  • C. Orthodoxy
    Christian, Contemporary, Conscientious… or Just Confused, by Ken Brown, a very thoughtful blog (archive). Ken is currently a Dr. Theol. student at Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, part of The Sofja-Kovalevskaja Research Group studying early Jewish Monotheism. His dissertation will focus on the presentation of God in Job.
  • Catholic Bibles
    a thoughtful blog about Bible translations by Timothy, who has a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) and teaches theology in a Catholic high school in Michigan
  • Chrisendom
    irreverent blog with a focus on the New Testament, by Chris Tilling, New Testament Tutor for St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre, London
  • Claude Mariottini
    a perspective on the Old Testament and current events by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicagoland, Illinois
  • Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot
    by Tyler Williams, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and cognate literature, now Assistant Professor of Theology at The King's University College in Edmonton, Alberta (archive)
  • Colours of Scripture
    reflections on theology, philosophy, and literature, by Benjamin Smith, afflicted with scriptural synaesthesia, and located in London, England
  • Complegalitarian
    A team blog that discusses right ways and wrong ways Scripture might help in the social construction of gender (old archive only; more recent archive, unfortunately, no longer publicly available)
  • Connected Christianity
    a place to explore what it might be like if Christians finally got the head, heart, and hands of their faith re-connected (archive)
  • Conversational Theology
    Smart and delightful comment by Ros Clarke, a Ph.D. student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, at the (virtual) Highland Theological College (archive)
  • Daily Hebrew
    For students of biblical Hebrew and the ancient Near East, by Chip Hardy, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago
  • Daniel O. McClellan
    a fine blog by the same, who is pursuing a master of arts degree in biblical studies at Trinity Western University just outside of Vancouver, BC.
  • Davar Akher
    Looking for alternative explanations: comments on things Jewish and beyond, by Simon Holloway, a PhD student in Classical Hebrew and Biblical Studies at The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Deinde
    News and Discussion by Danny Zacharias
  • Discipulus scripturae
    Nathan Stitt's place
  • Dr. Claude Mariottini
    balanced comment by a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard IL
  • Dr. Platypus
    insightful comment by Darrell Pursiful, editor at Smyth & Helwys Publishing, on the New Testament faculty of Mercer University
  • Dust
    A diary of Bob MacDonald's journey through the Psalms and other holy places in the Hebrew Bible
  • Eclexia
    The heart and mind of this Bible and theology blogger sing in unison
  • Eat, Drink, and be Merry
    The journey of a grad student with a love for ancient languages at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (archive)
  • Elizaphanian
    Rev Sam tussles with God, and limps away
  • Emerging from Babel
    Stephen investigates the potential of narrative and rhetorical criticism as a tool for expounding scripture
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism
    A group blog on NT and OT text-critical matters
  • Evedyahu
    excellent comment by Cristian Rata, Lecturer in Old Testament of Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology, Seoul, Korea
  • Exegetica Digita
    discussion of Logos high-end syntax and discourse tools – running searches, providing the downloads (search files) and talking about what can be done and why it might matter for exegesis, by Mike Heiser
  • Exegetisk Teologi
    careful exegetical comment by Stefan Green (in Swedish)
  • Exploring Our Matrix
    Insightful reflections by James McGrath, ass't. professor of religion, Butler University
  • Faith Matters
    Mark Alter's place
  • Ferrell's Travel Blog
    comments of biblical studies, archaeology, history, and photography by a tour guide of Bible lands and professor emeritus of the Biblical Studies department at Florida College, Temple Terrace (FL)
  • Fors Clavigera
    James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, thinks out loud.
  • Friar's Fires
    an insightful blog by a pastor with a background in journalism, one of three he pens
  • Gentle Wisdom
    A fearless take on issues roiling Christendom today, by Peter Kirk, a Bible translator
  • Giluy Milta B‘alma
    by Ezra Chwat and Avraham David of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jewish National and Hebrew University Library, Jerusalem
  • He is Sufficient
    insightful comment on Bible translations, eschatology, and more, by Elshaddai Edwards
  • Higgaion
    by Chris Heard, Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University
  • Idle Musings of a Bookseller
    by James Spinti of Eisenbrauns
  • if i were a bell, i'd ring
    Tim Ricchiuiti’s place
  • Imaginary Grace
    Smooth, witty commentary by Angela Erisman (archive). Angela Erisman is a member of the theology faculty at Xavier University
  • James' Thoughts and Musings
    by James Pate, a doctoral student at HUC-JIR Cincinnati
  • Jewish Philosophy Place
    by Zachary (Zak) Braiterman, who teaches modern Jewish thought and philosophy in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University
  • kata ta biblia
    by Patrick George McCollough, M. Div. student, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA
  • Ketuvim
    Learned reflection from the keyboard of Jim Getz
  • Kilbabo
    Ben Johnson’s insightful blog
  • Kruse Kronicle - contemplating the intersection of work, the global economy, and Christian mission
    top quality content brought to readers by Michael W. Kruse
  • Larry Hurtado's blog
    emeritus professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Law, Prophets, and Writings
    thoughtful blogging by William R. (Rusty) Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies as College of the Ozarks and managing editor for Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament
  • Lingamish
    delightful fare by David Ker, Bible translator, who also lingalilngas.
  • Looney Fundamentalist
    a scientist who loves off-putting labels
  • Menachem Mendel
    A feisty blog on rabbinic literature and other Judaica by Michael Pitkowsky, Rabbinics Curriculum Coordinator at the Academy for Jewish Religion and adjunct instructor at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • mu-pàd-da
    scholarly blog by C. Jay Crisostomo, grad student in ANE studies at ?
  • Narrative and Ontology
    Astoundingly thoughtful comment from Phil Sumpter, a Ph.D. student in Bible, resident in Bonn, Germany
  • New Epistles
    by Kevin Sam, M. Div. student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon SK
  • NT Weblog
    Mark Goodacre's blog, professor of New Testament, Duke University
  • Observatório Bíblico
    wide-ranging blog by Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica/Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, Brasile (in Portuguese)
  • Observatório Bíblico
    Blog sobre estudos acadêmicos da Bíblia, para Airton José da Silva, Professor de Bíblia Hebraica / Antigo Testamento na Faculdade de Teologia do CEARP de Ribeirão Preto, SP.
  • Occasional Publications
    excellent blogging by Daniel Driver, Brevard Childs' scholar extraordinaire
  • old testament passion
    Great stuff from Anthony Loke, a Methodist pastor and Old Testament lecturer in the Seminari Theoloji, Malaysia
  • Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog
    A weblog created for a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, by James Davila (archive)
  • On the Main Line
    Mississippi Fred MacDowell's musings on Hebraica and Judaica. With a name like that you can't go wrong.
  • p.ost an evangelical theology for the age to come
    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

Viewing Documents

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    To view the documents on this blog you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this, download it from the link above.
Blog powered by Typepad

Technorati

Terms


  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

    Creative Commons License

    Copyright © 2005 by John F Hobbins.