John Hobbins on Trinity UCC and Christians taming the Bible

I’m sure that John Hobbins’ most recent post will stir up controversy, that veritable benefactor of Hebrew Poetry seems to have a knack for such stirrings.

All jesting aside, there are some good points in the post linked above. I agree with Hobbins, of course, that many (all?) translations “tame its[the Bible’s] rhetoric.” To be sure, the Bible is often tamed by white, middle class, evangelical (and non-evangelical!) Christians. To the extent that this taming does not take place in ethnic congregations of varying stripes I cannot say, being woefully deficient in my exposure to said Christian groups. However, it is most certainly true that Christians, in the circles I currently walk, are fond of taming down the Bible. My own mother would turn red at some of the things the Hebrew Bible puts so bluntly!

On a related topic, as someone who is involved heavily in youth ministry while a student at GCTS, I would like to point out that it is this very outrageous rhetoric of the Hebrew Bible that makes it so fascinating to teens! To tame the Bible is to rape it of its beauty and wonder. It serves no purpose, other than to maintain the illusion that one can read the Bible, as a Christian, in any kind of safety.

Perhaps we have no further to look than ourselves and our propensity for taming the Scriptures when we wonder why it is that students find the Bible to be dull, boring, and utterly irrelevant.


4 thoughts on “John Hobbins on Trinity UCC and Christians taming the Bible

  1. Hannah,

    Boston is good. Getting ready to start another semester, one in which I’ll be taking a class at Harvard. I’m quite excited.

    If I’m remembering the post from Dr. Snyder’s blog appropriately, then I think all theology needs to be forward moving. I’m a bit skeptical about systematic theology. Nevertheless, if one must systematize, that systematization must always be fluid.

    As for how we do that today–I’m thankful that I just read the Bible, and so don’t need to worry about sys. theo….and wow I just sounded like the Rabbi himself there.

  2. Hi again Calvin,
    I agree about the theology part, its a relationship, nothing systematic about it. Something about it needs to be moving forward, and there is where I get caught in ponderings of canon and church councils. I have been unable to divorce my fascination with theology, but then, my study is my life, and I am not a fan of intellectual process without life and spiritual formation as well. 🙂 Nice on the sys theo remarks. Rabbi would be proud… he’s still working on my conversion to theology-less passion with Jesus.
    California is going to be fascinating too… just finished up the first week of courses. So have fun at Harvard, I’m off to read!

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