A Biblical Exegesis:

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vigilantly taxonomish
What a pretentious thread title.

OK, so. Welcome to another liveblogging, ladies and gentlefellows. This'll be rather different from my last one.

I have read parts of the Bible before, but I have only once attempted to read it in full. On that occasion, I don't think I finished The Book of Genesis.

The copy of the Book which I have in front of me is the Good News Bible. I suppose in some respects it's a controversial translation, but then, what Biblical translation isn't? I've chosen this version in spite of the somewhat simplistic language, because it's the version favoured by the church that I attended and the version which I am most familiar with. I do, however, have access to the Revised Standard Edition and the King James Bible, which I can consult if anyone takes issue with aspects of the translation I have here.

Disclaimer: I am an agnostic and a former Christian. I am going to give my honest opinions here, because to do otherwise would, to my mind, not be a proper liveblogging. While I won't promise to be entirely reverent the whole time, this is emphatically not a Mickey take. I'm going to be respectful, and I request that comments be kept similarly respectful, please.

Oh, and the Bible is rather long, so who knows how far I'll get.
2 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 01:18:50 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
"exegesis" is not pretentious! It's awesome!
3 Wicked22325th Dec 2009 01:20:54 PM from Death Star in the forest
A! l9if4vebl9.og of4v the Bibl9.e. D#Ca1zn't s2xa1zy I d3cid3cn't s2xee this2x d3coj7ming
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
vigilantly taxonomish
^^ Yes, but I used it.

Thanks for the word, by the way.

edited 25th Dec '09 1:21:39 PM by BobbyG

5 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 01:22:30 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Don't thank me, thank Philip K. Dick! He wrote six thousand pages! cool
6 Tangent12825th Dec 2009 01:28:18 PM from Virginia , Relationship Status: Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
Exegesis? I did one of those last year. I was shocked to discover that this semester's Biblical Foundations class was not required to do that paper. Sure, it was a lot of work, but it's one of the few things that should be Serious Business.
Do you highlight everything looking for secret messages?
7 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 01:29:09 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
I want to do an exegesis of the Vedas now... I mean, they have armies of flying monkeys.

No wait, that's the Mahabharata. But I really want to read that anyway.

edited 25th Dec '09 1:29:34 PM by Tzetze

I've tried many different versions of the Christian Bible. My overall impression is still "meh."

The best ones I've seen are either transliterated with the original Hebrew and/or Greek next to the English translations, or the New Jerusalem Bible (which includes alternate interpretations and theological references in footnotes).
Sakamoto demands an explanation for this shit.
9 Ramus25th Dec 2009 03:25:55 PM from some computer somwhere.
This should be interesting. I'm actually devout Christian so it'll be nice to hear a view different from the fundamentalists' and the haters'.
The emotions of others can seem like such well guarded mysteries, people 8egin to 8elieve that's how their own emotions should 8e treated.
vigilantly taxonomish
Y'know, I'm not sure the thread title was such a great idea. Y'all are no doubt expecting a much more sophisticated analysis than I'm actually capable of.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

The edition I have opens each book with a short summary and a helpful table of contents. This is handy for the purposes of liveblogging, because it means that the longer books are divided up into smaller headed sections, longer than the traditional chapters. We therefore begin The Old Testament with "The Story of Creation", which is an extremely familiar passage to me, and one of the more famous parts of the Bible.

Genesis 1

The book of Genesis begins with God's creation of the universe. At this point, the Earth exists, but is empty and without form, submerged in water and absolutely devoid of light. The Spirit of God (a footnote informs me that this could equally be "the power of God", "a wind from God" or "an awesome wind") moves over the water, and God commands:

Let there be light.

And light is. God, pleased with this, proceeds to create Day and Night by separating the light from the darkness. Evening arrives, and so endeth the first day.

God then creates a dome, dividing the water above the dome from the water beneath it, and calls it Sky. I think this provides an interesting insight into the ancient Jewish perception of the universe. It sounds almost reminiscent of an acrylic tunnel, like you get in some large aquariums, with the sky as water trapped behind an immense cosmic firmament. With that done, the second day ends.

I wonder - does this mean that Heaven exists in the waters above the Sky, or perhaps beyond them?

On the third day, God commands that the waters below the sky pool together, revealing dry land. He names the land Earth and the water Sea. Again, He is pleased with His creation.

Presumably this didn't take as long as making the cosmic dome, because God then commands that the Earth produce plants, which it does. This also pleases Him, and the third day ends.

Next, God commands that lights appear in the sky to distinguish night from day. Didn't He already create light and separate those? Perhaps light is a physical mass which the lights in the sky merely release, rather than generate? Of course, this would actually sorta be in keeping with modern scientific theory, given that energy is not created, merely converted from one form to another.

So God creates the sun, the moon and the stars and places them in the sky to illuminate the world. They also serve the purpose of time-keeping devices, indicating the start of days, years and religious festivals (or seasons, a footnote suggests). God is pleased with what He sees, and the fourth day ends.

On the fifth day, God commands that the water be filled with living creatures, and that the air be filled with birds. He creates great sea monsters, as well as all the other kinds of aquatic animals, and the birds. Pleased with His creations, He tells them to reproduce. Fifth day end.

On the sixth day, God makes the animals, domestic and wild, large and small. He is pleased with them, of course.

Now, this is interesting. God says:

And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domesticated and wild, large and small.

Referring to Himself in the plural, but that might just be the Royal We, I guess. What's interesting is that He creates both male and female human beings in His own image, and tells them to have many children, so that their descendants will control the world. He places them in charge of the other creatures, and provides them with grain and fruit to eat. For the animals, He provides leaves and grass.

Then God surveys His entire creation, and this time He is very pleased. The sixth day ends, and the chapter with it.

edited 25th Dec '09 6:18:11 PM by BobbyG

11 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 06:20:52 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
For the "we", that's probably attributable to translation... I've never heard of that before. Perhaps somebody who actually knows something about biblical criticism knows better than I do.

The thing I never got about Genesis was why it happens twice, or actually why it happens twice and nobody finds this strange.
Tzetze, everyone finds it strange. It's one of those things that Biblical scholars argue about. Or used to. They might've reached some sort of concensus, but seeing as though they're arguing about the Bible, I doubt it.
Happens twice?
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
14 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 06:29:33 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Katrika's reaction is just what I mean.

The story of God creating the animals and so on is repeated. I've usually heard that it was a scribe putting together two stories, but I've never heard a Christian notice it before and it's strange to me.
vigilantly taxonomish
I don't think it actually happens twice, but I do know that it's described twice, and the details are different the second time.

That always seemed kind of weird to me, too. I've heard two possible explanations: either that Genesis describes two different creation myths (using "myth" in the sense of mythology here, not of untruth), both of which were current, or alternatively, that the early parts of Genesis are metaphorical, and the exact details aren't fixed because the details themselves aren't important.

The use of the plural by God to refer to Himself occurs in Genesis 1 verse 26. It's the same in both the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version, although it's probably worth noting that the RSV was based on the American Standard Version, which was based on the KJV, so of course it's the same in both.
16 Wicked22325th Dec 2009 06:31:46 PM from Death Star in the forest
It's2x d3ca1zus2xe Genes2xis2x is2x one of4v thos2xe book8,s2x tha1zt us2xua1zl9.l9y gets2x s2xk8,imj7med3c of4verl9.
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
17 Kinkajou25th Dec 2009 06:33:18 PM from you're not your
One Man Army
Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 have different sources, from what I recall.

I forget which source contributes to which chapter, though.
"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake
What are you talking about?

The six days of creation and a day of rest is it, right?
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
19 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 06:35:00 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Relevant quotations to illustrate what I mean, from the KJV:

Chapter 1: 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Chapter 2: 4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The point, of course, is that God seemingly repeats himself. This is important since the first time he just makes both male and female at once, but the second time he does the rib thing.

Kabbalist tidbit: they interpret "male and female created he them" to mean that Adam and Eve were originally a hermaphrodite, with 613 limbs and a million miles high and bla bla bla but Kabbalah is weird.

Perhaps the second part is elaborating more on the events of the sixth day.
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
21 Kinkajou25th Dec 2009 06:36:38 PM from you're not your
One Man Army
No, I'm talking about

this (actually continuing into Genesis 2, but the account changes partway into it) this.

Ninja'd by the Master.

edited 25th Dec '09 6:37:21 PM by Kinkajou

"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake
22 Wicked22325th Dec 2009 06:37:05 PM from Death Star in the forest
Or it's2x a1z Recap Episode.
You can't even write racist abuse in excrement on somebody's car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat!
23 Tzetze25th Dec 2009 06:38:31 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
The point is that the "recap" isn't the same.

Of course saying that the story was later misedited doesn't dilute the holiness of the text, but I just wish that more people would see it.

Where the hell is Zephid? He knows this stuff better than anyone here.
I say it's going into more detail on the sixth day.

But you go, 'A day isn't long enough to hit puberty and get lonely!'

However, there is some debate over what a day means and blah blah blah it works out!

"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
25 Kinkajou25th Dec 2009 06:40:53 PM from you're not your
One Man Army
Again: Genesis 1 - 2:4 and 2:4-25 have different sources.
"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake

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