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Last update: 2013-06-26

Humour in the Bible: Book 6 Joshua: Rahab and the bungling spies

2013-06-26 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The little story, in Joshua 2, of Rahab and the clueless pair of young Israelite would be spies, provided Spenser1  (see Signs of humour: especially in written texts acr oss cultures) with a nice example of several of his criteria all together in one text, making it evidently humorous. What do you think? Do the …

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Is hell an important Christian doctrine? Part 1: Jesus’ teaching in Matthew

2013-06-03 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

People like “old time religion”, “Give them more hellfire and damnation pastor!” the elders plead (somehow it is always “them” not “us” in this case), churches were full when preachers really put the fear of God into their audiences! But is ‘hell’ an important Christian doctrine, should every preacher touch on torment every month or …

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Reading the Bible Faithfully

2013-05-28 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Before we look at how we can better read Scripture faithfully we need to ask what -reading the Bible faithfully means. There are implications both for how and why we read. Later podcasts will tackle the how in more detail. This one focuses more on the big picture. Future podcasts will cover each of the …

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Atheists, Fundamentalists and the Bible: Using Scripture

2013-05-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I’ve been puzzled and frustrated recently in several conversations by the way in which both some Fundamentalists and some Atheists seem to (mis)use Scripture in similar ways. This is the first of a series on this, it focuses on how this way of using Scripture is wrong…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 5 Deuteronomy

2013-05-21 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This podcast, suggesting a gentle wry smile in Dt 1:6 was inspired by a blog post from Rabbi Michal Shekelk1nsh2s2 “Could it be possible to stay too long at the site of Revelation?” There are also quotes from: Tigay, J. Deuteronomy. Jewish Publication Society, 1994, 8; and Rashi on Dt 1:6. As well as Dt …

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Complaints: Part Three: a clue in Jeremiah

2013-05-15 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

There are a number of passages in the prophets, and especially in Jeremiah that are like the complaint (lament) psalms. In Jeremiah the passages known as “the confessions of Jeremiah” are particularly interesting. Here I’ll just look at one feature of the first two (or three, it depends how we count them of these passages …

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Complaint Psalms: Part Two

2013-05-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This second look at the complaint psalms continues to focus on Psalm 22. Part three will return to Jeremiah&#…

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Complaint Psalms: Part One

2013-05-10 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This post starts to talk about Psalm 22, mentioning Job 10 on the way, we will examine these passages as a way into understanding “complaint psalms”. Complaints are the commonest type of psalm in the book of psalms. You might like to listen to my earlier post “Arguing with God: Jer 12:1-4” first, it sets the …

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Humour in the Bible: Book 4 Numbers

2013-05-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

No one has get suggested humour in Leviticus, so I’m moving on while I think… Numbers 11 provides a fun story with several wry smiles, and Moses tells God that as Israel’s mother (which role Moses himself is not at all keen on) Yahweh should feed and care for these “babies&#…

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Video introduction to Lakish

2013-05-03

Second city in Ancient Judah, we know of it’s siege and capture by the Assyrians from the Bible and from Assyrian written sources and pictures. We also know something of its later capture by Babylon in the time of Jeremiah…

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Why every good Christian is an Atheist!

2013-05-02 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

There is an error common to many Atheists and Christians, though they believe their ideas are quite different. The mistake is easily made the words God and god look almost alike. So it seems obvious that “God” is a “god”. Few things sensible people believe could be further from the truth. &nbsp…

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When Bible passages contradict each other

2013-05-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The flat out contradictions in Scripture make Bible readers jumpy.Conservatives seek to defend the “integrity” of Scripture by denying that there is any (even the slightest) disagreement, those on the other side delight in the “proof” that the Bible is merely a collection of venerable ancient texts of no relevance today. Both responses are dead …

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Not Only a Father: Knowing the unknowable

2013-04-29 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The final podcast in a series written as guest posts for Sacraparental that express the key ideas of Not Only a Father briefly and simply. This one explores a few ways to experience God as motherly. Looks at Psalm 131 and Jesus teaching in Matthew 5 & 6 as well as Numbers 11. For more …

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Not Only a Father: Speaking the unspeakable: mother-language before the reformation

2013-04-23 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Can a currently unspeakable picture of God, which was in use for the first 1400 years of Christianity help us enrich our relationship with God? Many of the best known theologians and writing pastors of the first 1400 years of the Christian church (including Clement, Jerome, Augustine and Anselm) were happy to speak in different …

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But Jesus named God ‘our Father’!

2013-04-23 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

What does it mean for Christian talk of God as motherly that Jesus called (even maybe named) God as -father-? Then we take a closer look at what Jesus meant when he talked about God as father. Finally I’ll think about what it means for this topic that Jesus was male. There is a lot …

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The land of promise

2013-04-15

Real estate agents understand the importance of location This video explains the significance of the location of the “Promised Land”.  It describes the different regions briefly. I’ve wondered about extending this series with some focused on different areas… What do you think…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 3 Leviticus

2013-04-11 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I never said all the humour in the Bible was gentle or polite. We have come to expect harsh even toilet humour from the prophets, but in this reading Leviticus outdoes Ezekiel sharpening his toilet humour and even making it shorter and more pointed. In this podcast I’ll compare Ezek 6:3-6 with Lev 26:30, and …

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E100-2: Genesis 3

2013-04-10 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This is the passage that makes sense of Gen 2, and of human life. Our world and our lives are broken and spoiled because of sin. Sin is not breaking rules, it is breaking relationship with the maker by wanting to assume the power ourselves. The reading of Genesis 3 is here. There is another …

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E100-1: Genesis 1 and 2

2013-04-09 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Introducing Genesis 1 & 2, with their radical message. Reading them to answer HOW questions is misreading! They intend to answer more important WHY questions. It began a podcast series on the Essential 100 Bible Readings, the Bible readings themselves are available as audio (MP3) files here. (I also dealt with Genesis 1 in a …

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Introducing Genesis

2013-04-08 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

As the first book in the Bible Genesis has a special importance for readers. This very brief introduction to some of the literary and theological issues of the book is really just the very beginning of studying Genesis! I’ve been working on a Bible Dictionary article on “Genesis” , so it seemed like a good …

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God as Mother in the Bible

2013-04-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

We often notice that the Bible talks about God as -father- (though this picture is rarer than we think), how come we don’t notice it also speaks of God in motherly ways…

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What’s wrong with this picture? Effing the Ineffable

2013-04-02 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Thalia invited me to do a series of (by my standards) longish posts over at Sacraparental. They introduce briefly some of the key ideas from my book Not Only a Father. The first has just appeared: What’s Wrong with this Picture? This is a podcast of that material. Talking in pictures is necessary when we …

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Exodus 32: Who dunnit? Multiple Points of View

2013-03-27 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The story of the “Golden Calf” episode, offers three different answers to the question: Who brought Israel out of Egypt. And they are attributed to different people and recounted to us by different people! This opens lots of interesting possibilities for interplay of points of view. When there are “rough edges” like this in a …

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Being Ideal Readers: 2 putting it all together

2013-03-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In part two we get drawn to the hymn in Phil 2 and discover not only what Jesus’ discension is all about, but also get to understand the talk of us being gifts in Eph 4:11-13 better. (If you have not listened to part 1 do listen to that first.) The original audio only version …

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Being Ideal Readers: 1 in which we discover the importance of a Psalm

2013-03-24 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this podcast we’ll begin to grapple with a complicated idea, but quite simply begin to discover how to become (more) ideal readers. We’ll be looking at Eph 4 , and you will also need a bookmark in Ps 68 . This is a podcast in two parts (otherwise I’d have to change the name …

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Humour in the Bible: Book 2 Exodus

2013-03-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this post we’ll discover some humour from below. The humour of the oppressed often pokes fun at the oppressor. Those who subjugate others fear them, and this fear generates feelings of inferiority that in Exodus some oppressed women manipulate delightfully. Please open your Bibles at Exodus 1-2. The original audio only version of this …

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Humour in the Bible: Book 1 Genesis

2013-03-19 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In a post Why the Bible is just not (so) funny David returned to a theme he’s argued before, that the Bible is not funny. Aparently back in 2007 he issued a challenge that readers of his blog could not give examples of humour from every book in the Bible: Funny Stuff in the Bible. …

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Was God married? Part two: the death of the goddess

2013-03-17

Francesca Stavrakopoulou closed her article “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” saying: I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like had the goddess remained. Let’s explore the evidence and try to answer her speculation. This evidence comes mainly from surrounding peoples, though the Bible has some …

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Why do you read? Or: Was God married?

2013-03-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This is the video version of a post whose original audio only version is here. It was stimulated by an article in The Daily Mail (a UK tabloid newspaper) “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” It caused a flurry among the Twittering classes, and on Facebook, and even among …

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Are you an idolater? (Not – Was God married? Part Two)

2013-03-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

As a matter of fact Yahweh was married, yet the Bible cannot tolerate people who speak of God as male or masculine. This podcast seeks to explore this apparent contradiction as a first follow up to yesterday’s “Why do you read? Or: Was God married?” The original (audio only) version of this podcast was here…

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Casuistic and apodictic: part 4: Is it a Matthew thing?

2013-03-10 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

It is about time I finished this casuistry thing (unless any of you know different), but first I think I should show that this approach to Scripture is not just a Matthew thing, but does indeed come from Jesus. We’ll look at a neat case from Mark …

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Casuistic and apodictic: part 3: Jesus reads more Scripture

2013-03-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Here’s the third (I hope gripping) installment of this series on why the distinction between casuistic and apodictic matters beyond the form criticism of the legal corpora of the Pentateuch Apart from that one (corpora) no new “long words” this time, and that one is NOT in the podcast — with Gospel of Matthew and …

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Casuistic and apodictic: part 2: The Jesus Key

2013-03-05 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This is the video version of the second part of this three part series. (Part one, explained the difference between the two sorts of law.) Here I claim that the distinction helps us make sense of Jesus seemingly contradictory teaching about Old Testament law. I was a bit careless in narrating this one, note that …

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Casuistic and Apodictic: part 1: What the terms mean (video version)

2013-03-04 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Here’s a video version of a podcast I did a while back, about one of the most dull-sounding topics in biblical studies Yet distinguishing these two (whether or not you remember the names) is vital to understanding the New Testament! Tomorrow I’ll explain why…

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Ruth is from Moab, but Boaz is from Bethlehem

2013-02-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Here’s the video version of this podcast (the audio only version is here). It offers another approach to Ruth, this time borrowing from the Swiss scholar Crapon di Caprona and suggesting a reading of Ruth 2 that takes account of the cultural discrepancy implied in the text… what DO you think…

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Hebrews: the most popluar book

2013-02-18 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I’ve not addressed Hebrews before in the 5minuteBible podcasts, and it’s a book I learned to love through studying it while learning Greek… yet one that’s strangely (or not so strangely) unpopular today&#…

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Direct speech in biblical narratives

2013-02-14

There are many ways in which the story-tellers of the Bible ensure that their tellings are lively and engaging. One is through the way they report speech. There is usually more “direct speech” (where the words of a character are “quoted”) then “indirect speech” (where the teller tells us the gist of what the character …

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Chance or Providence?

2013-02-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Often in biblical narrative things “just seem to happen”, rather like they do in our lives But are such “happenings” chance or divine providence at work? We’ll try to decide, using Gen 37:12ff. (read with Gen 39) and Ruth 2 as examples. &nbsp…

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A Text without contexts is dumb! 2: Text without cotext is dumb

2013-02-10

For the second part of this “A text without contexts is dumb” series we’ll think about cotext, the text that surrounds a text, providing context. The biblical examples come from Psalms and Ephesians. You might want to listen to Part 1 here first &nbsp…

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Wonderland Spirituality and the Canaanite Genocide

2013-01-28 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

What does it mean to “believe”? Can Alice in Wonderland help us avoid a common Evangelical error? And does “it’s in the Bible” end conversation about the “Canaanite genocide”?1 The scare quotes round Canaanite genocide indicate my question, still as far as I am concerned unanswered whether such an “event” occurred, or even was (fictionally?) …

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Did Jephthah slaughter his daughter?

2012-12-09 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The second in what is becoming a series on Jephthah’s story1  I examine the question my friend actually asked, which was whether or not we the people should find Jephthah guilty of killing his only child, an anonymous daughter. Here’s the case so far… I need to do another on “history” when I get back …

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Jephthah & “Headship”

2012-12-04 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

A friend on Facebook asked about her pastor’s interpretation of the story of Jephthah’s daughter, since that’s a “difficult” passage I thought it would make an interesting podcast. The trouble is I got waylaid, I spotted a distraction in the story.. Jephthah’s story (I have to return with another podcast about his daughter’s story!) may …

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Bonhoeffer on Gen 3 – Conscience

2012-11-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Bonhoeffer has some hugely stimulating ideas in his discussion of the “fall” story in Genesis 3. Probably none are more stimulating, or easy to fail to grasp as his thought about “conscience” – at least difficult for people for whom the idea that conscience is the “voice of God within” is deeply embedded, since Bonhoeffer …

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Humorous hyperbole in Obadiah

2012-11-18 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Obadiah’s not a comedy. It is nasty, brutish though thankfully short. It is harder than usual to talk about this book as Israeli defense forces continue to rain destruction on Gaza though perhaps the placing of the book of Obadiah and my trip (starting Wednesday) to what was till recently war-torn Sri Lanka provide glimpses …

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An Introduction to Gapping

2012-11-06 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Gapping, where hearers have to “fill in” information that is missing in the text, is a really significant part of biblical story-telling. So, I’ll need to introduce the idea to next year’s Biblical Narrative class. Normally we “gap” unconsciously, and not just when reading narratives as I hope I’ll show you in this podcast. We’ll …

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Isaiah 40

2012-10-31 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Isaiah 40 besides being one of the pillars on which the book of Isaiah rests is magnificent. This podcast, trying to deal with the whole chapter can’t do it justice (for a bit more on the background try Isaiah 40 in Babylon) I may do some follow-up podcasts on the different parts. Anyway, this time you …

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Humour in the Bible: book 30: Amos 4.1

2012-10-28 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

You cow! Is neither clever, nor funny, in today’s world. So why do I think Amos 4:1 was intended to be funny? Listen to find out There is a post with more detail on this verse on my blog here: The works referred to in this podcast were: King, Philip J. Amos, Hosea, Micah: An …

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Amos 7:14 presuppositions and rhetoric

2012-10-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Amos 7:14 is a striking problem for interpreters, not least because what Amos is reported as saying to Amaziah seems to contradict what he is reported to be doing in the rest of the book. This makes it fertile ground for us to incorporate either our presuppositions or rhetoric into the text. (I use the …

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God the exegete: 2 Sam 7

2012-10-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This is the first part of a short series (it might only be two parts, who knows on passages where God exegetes his own words. In this part we’ll look at 2 Samuel 7, where David wants to build a ‘house’ = temple for God, since he already has a nice ‘house’ = palace for …

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Isaiah 6: a vision of a different God

2012-10-15 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Isaiah 6 is a powerful account of Isaiah’s dramatic vision in the temple, a little background brings this power sharply into focus. This post deals with only the first few words of the great account of Isaiah’s temple vision in Chapter 6. Maybe I’ll do another to follow it, it’s certainly a powerful chapter…

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The Perspicuity of Scripture (i)

2012-10-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

My tradition (the Baptist part of the Nonconformist or radical Reformation) has stressed the idea that Scripture is perspicuous, that the Bible is easy to understand, and that anyone can understand it – or at least grasp its essentials – without special training or equipment. Yet there are for sure some difficult passages. There are …

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Biblical secrets of a long and happy marriage

2012-10-03 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Here’s what I would have said if they had asked me about the Bible! (Not 5 minutes but 6, but it is a big topic and here are the usual downloadable links &nbsp…

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Marriage (not 5 minutes and not as much Bible as I’d have liked)

2012-10-02

This is not a 5 minute Bible but part of an interview for a Shine TV series. I wish I’d had more chance to speak about the Bible, and more oportunity to focus on the positive. Maybe I do need to do a podcast&#…

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Working with what the Bible doesn’t say

2012-10-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this post I’ll start looking at how we respond to the Bible’s silences, often there are questions we want to ask the Bible, which the Bible does not answer. What do we do then? Some of these questions, like the one I start with produce classic biblical puzzlers… By the way, if the sound …

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E100 Week 10: Prophets: three principles to unlock the code

2012-09-26 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Prophets and prophecy: the most misunderstood part of OT, “mysterious messengers”. A random chunk from a prophetic book will offer a confusing, seemingly muddled, confusion of vivid picture language. Yet, three simple principles can (usually) unlock the mystery and allow the prophets to speak: conversion not prediction context not timeless conversation not monologue As I’ll …

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Minority Report: Kingship in Samuel

2012-09-19 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

To complete my little trilogy of ‘casts I turn to suggest a richer approach to “kingship” in Samuel than the simple messianism my previous ‘cast suggested. With the help of Oscar Wilde’s poems: Libertatis Sacra Fames (text and comment), and Sonnet to Liberty I suggest we listen to both “majority view” and the “minority report” …

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Hannah’s Song: Opening Judges

2012-09-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Following the Twisted Tales of the book of Judges (in the Hebrew Bible) comes Samuel. The opening of Samuel responds well to the questions posed by the horrid stories that ended Judges…

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Twisted tales: or should the book of Judges be censored?

2012-09-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Judges is definitely not suitable for Sunday School reading, the bits that are told are firmly censored, and few of us go back to notice what we are missing. But, if we do, what we find is a book chock full of horrid twisted tales, brutal, brutish and sadly not short. Why? Can such a …

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Isaiah 1:2-2:4

2012-09-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The first chapter of Isaiah (which perhaps runs on to 2:4, but you decide provides an introduction to this book in three parts, laying out the “big story” at the start…

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Obadiah and Jonah

2012-09-09 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Juxtaposition: putting things together to make something “more than the sum of the parts” is a common artistic skill, it is common (but often unrecognised) in the Bible. As my least favourite book of the Bible helps reveal!…

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Submission of wives in 1 Peter

2012-09-02 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This post is a follow-up to the previous one, addressing submission in 1 Peter 3. 1 Peter 3:1 calls wives to -submit- to their husbands. What does it call husbands to do? Do our common English translations mislead us? Was Peter more revolutionary than we thought? In addressing this question, as well as a look …

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“Headship”: What did Paul really mean?

2012-08-30 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

“Head” is often used as picture language. Because such language is always deeply cultural and even personal it is vital to think about what someone else means when they say head – unless it clearly is just the lump that keeps one’s neck from fraying. Paul’s usage is particularly interesting and has more to do …

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Eph 5:21-22 and those Sydney Anglicans

2012-08-29 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The Sydney Anglicans are suggesting women might want to promise to -submit- to their husbands. I argue that they are not being biblical enough, and don’t go half far enough! I begin with Martyn Lloyd-Jones fine introduction to reading Ephesians 5 and suggest where half-hearted, partial readings go wrong. I’ll follow this up with a …

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Christians no longer practice “Christian Marriage”

2012-08-27 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This post is not itself directly about the Bible, though it is thoroughly “biblical” as I’ll be happy to demonstrate if you ask targeted questions In the podcast I’ll take a pagan suggestion  from the Sidney Anglicans, and a scathing critique of the churches (from Stanley Hauerwas)1 and think more clearly about Marriage equality/the Redefinition …

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Peace and war: 1 Kings 20:18

2012-08-24 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Jeremy Thompson pointed out on Facebook the interesting verse in 1 Kings 20:18 where Ben-Hadad having had a bit too much too drink when Israel comes out for battle: Says: 18 “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.” Which as far as …

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Jesus and the centurion’s lad (pais)

2012-08-20 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Huffington Post article claiming the pais was the centurion’s sex partner produced a little flurry of posts and comment on the biblical blogs. Gavin at Otagosh in Jesus and the Centurion’s boy wrote: “I’m not sure the story actually has much value in terms of current debates on homosexuality.” Is that right? &nbsp…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 29: Joel 1:5

2012-08-15 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

“…the more I have read and studied Scripture over the decades the more I become aware that the writers were more often sharp-tongued trouble makers with a biting sense of humour than they were safe moralisers like the LXX translators The Ltalians have a saying: “Traduttore, traditore.” about how translators often betray their text.   …

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Isaiah 1: an introduction to the book

2012-08-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Isaiah 1:2-31 forms a coherent unit and introduces the themes and “movements” of the book. It may help to either have your Bible open at the passage, or listen to this reading of the text first, as I refer to rather than read from the passage in the main podcast…

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The Superscription to the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1)

2012-08-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The superscription in Isaiah 1:1 is not the only one in the book, which may be suggestive of the book’s own history. It also announces the book’s focus on Jerusalem the Holy City…

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The book of Isaiah and imperial contexts

2012-07-29 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Describes why careful readers of Isaiah have for a thousand years thought of the book in (at least) three different imperial contexts…

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Beginning to read Isaiah

2012-07-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This podcast introduces the book (not the prophet) Isaiah. We’ll begin to think about how this huge (66 chapters) sprawling book is organised. This will lead into a more detailed look at many of the parts over the coming months. This introduction to the book assumes some understanding of how prophets and prophetic books work. …

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The structure and organisation of the book of Jonah

2012-07-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Jonah is carefully and neatly structured into four acts (the chapters): Act one: Jon 1:1-16 Pagan sailors converted Scene one: Jonah’s commission 1:1-3 Scene two: On a ship in a storm Jon 1:4-16 Jon 1:17 (MT & LXX 2:1) bridge Act two: Jon 2:1-10 Jonah talks to God Scene three: in the belly of the …

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Bridges in Biblical Narrative

2012-07-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Like soap-operas, and other serials, biblical narratives with several episodes often seek to bridge between two parts. These bridges are often verses that serve to link one episode to another. We’ll look at examples from Ruth, Jonah and Genesis 2-…

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What’s the difference? Luke 9:1ff.

2012-06-20 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I’d like to sharpen this one. I am trying to explain and illustrate the second step of the five step process. Making reference mainly to Luke 9:1ff.. Any suggestions you have would be welcome…

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Clumsiness in biblical narrative: Jonah 1:10 (Be afraid, be very afraid)

2012-05-31 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Biblical narrative is seldom clumsy and not often more complicated than it needs to be. So apparent clumsiness is usually intended to show us something. As I hope to convince you it does in Jonah 1:10. &nbsp…

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5 Steps | 1 Cor 1:10-17 | Step 1

2012-05-23 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Marking is a great stimulus for ideas for these podcasts. I thought I do a short series telling how the five step process works using one of our “test” passages. This first one is just step one, I’ll do the others later&#…

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God the Midwife: a repost with new format

2012-04-30 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

With mothers’ day coming up it seems a good time to reissue an old post, with a new format and somewhat cleaned up audio. I briefly remind you of some of the passages that picture God as a midwife. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) regularly pictures Yahweh as intimately associated with forming in the womb …

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iTunes and Facebook

2012-04-22

After several false starts I believe I now have 5 minute Bible working on iTunes Please let me know if you have difficulty finding/getting it, I believe a search for “5 minute Bible” under “podcasts” will show it. I have also created a Facebook “page” for 5 minute Bible, please consider “liking” the page, at …

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Who is the audience for Genesis?

2012-04-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I’ve been marking student assignments for a course on Genesis. The more I mark the more I become aware of the issue of the intended (expected/implied) audience. In this podcast I’ll suggest that the answer is not as simple as it sounds and draw a conclusion about our practices of reading Scripture&#…

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The Bible in 5 minutes: The Story

2012-03-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Like all good stories, and the Bible is before and after everything else a story, Scripture begins at the beginning. The beginning of everything, and a garden planted by God. Everything falls apart, for humans fall apart, and many of the stories in Scripture are horrible, grotesque or inspiring, for such a mixture describes the …

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The Bible in 5 minutes: Users’ Manual

2012-03-18 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The Christian Bible is a big sprawling collection of documents from widely different time periods (roughly the end of the Bronze Age to the Roman empire) in many different genres (as different as history and love poems, or proverbs and lengthy letters) composed in three languages and two different writing systems. To make matters worse …

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Genesis as an edited text: pt.1 Gen 1-5

2012-02-26 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Since I am teaching Genesis again I am filling out the gaps in my podcasts on this book. I think it is important to notice that Genesis is told to us by (at least) two narrators. The story comes to us as an edited text, that is it already in its telling belongs, not to …

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Humour in the Bible: book 28: Hosea

2012-02-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this podcast I’ll again argue that Robert Carroll gets it wrong. Despite his own fierce black humour he fails to acknowledge its presence or at least its prevalence in the prophets. He writes about humour in Hosea in: Carroll, Robert P. ‘Is Humour among the Prophets’. On humour and the comic in the Hebrew …

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Introducing the Torah or Pentateuch

2012-02-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

One of the things I have not yet done as well as I’d like is to package these podcasts into convenient forms to give quick simple  introductions for students in classes I teach, so I’ve been collecting the posts on Genesis with that in mind. I’ll gradually be adding podcasts to fill some of the …

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Understanding contradictions: 1 Cor 14:34 (Part 2)

2011-12-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

    In part one I drew attention to the problem that this verse seems to contradict what Paul himself approves and to some funny things going on in and around the verse. Here I’ll focus on my reason for mentioning this, how we should respond when a Bible passage seems to contradict what the …

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Understanding contradictions: 1 Cor 14:34 (Part 1)

2011-12-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Perhaps no Bible text illustrates the dangers of a simplistic reading of Scripture than 1 Cor 14:34. If we tear this verse from its cotext,1 and then read it as if the Bible were “God’s instruction manual for life” and even worse read it also literally then we are in trouble! The verse (in the …

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What is the Bible? (Part 2) A hologram?

2011-11-18 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Many people think the Bible is like a hologram, any part of which shows the truth. The practice of scholars, preachers and teachers, of citing single verses or lists of verses to demonstrate something, encourages this view. The claim that the Bible is “inerrant” in all its parts seems to seal the idea. Yet in …

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Recycling: What is the Bible? (Part 1)

2011-11-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

How do we picture Scripture? That is what is/are the (unconscious) models in our heads as we read and use the Bible? This ‘cast refers particularly to Gen 18:20ff. and Amos 7. How did God reveal Scripture, by dictation as with Moses, by some less sharp inspiration as seems to have been the case for …

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Humour in the Bible: book 27: Daniel

2011-11-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Like Esther, Daniel is set in a foreign court and telling to the trials and triumphs of exiled Judeans and is packed with humour at the expense of the imperial overlords. In this podcast I’m following an article by Hector Avalos from CBQ and focusing on the repeated lists of Dan 3. For his comparison …

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Decoding Revelation: the KIIC principle

2011-10-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Well,the end of the world has passed, again That’s the second time this year! It is the Bible that causes all the problems. or ratheit is bad reading of the Bible that causes all the problems. No book is more commonly misread than Revelation. Christians keep wanting it to predict tomorrow. And boy, do they …

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Understanding the Prophets: Part Two: Amos

2011-09-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In Understanding the prophets: Part one I spoke about the “Three Cons” as a key to reading the prophetic books of the Old Testament with understanding and in ways which are faithful to their original intention. In this second part we’ll look at an example from Amos 5:18ff. and apply this approach. The result will …

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Humour in the Bible: book 26: Ezekiel

2011-09-14 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

If podcasts can have dedications, then this one is dedicated to Robert Carroll. The podcast is full or irony, first that of an introvert who spoke before thinking and who failed to read or digest a fine work by an admired teacher and friend, and then that of a frequently (and often mordantly) humorous Irishman …

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More on gendered text: Turning the tables

2011-09-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Gender is not (only) a Feminist issue! I ended my double post Proverbs as a gendered text and Proverbs as a gendered text: Proverbs 31:10ff. with the question of where reading such (strongly) male texts left women readers. Sadly it has had little response, (though thank you Judy So I’ll end this podcast with a …

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Humour in the Bible: Book 24: Jeremiah

2011-09-08 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Back to the longer series, just in case you thought I’d forgotten. Jeremiah has a harsh and cutting humour on almost every page. In this post we’ll look at Jer 2:26-28. And just so you don’t think I am inventing the humour I find there I’ll cite some proper scholarship.1 Here’s the audio: Humour in …

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Proverbs as a gendered text: Proverbs 31:10ff.

2011-09-05 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The poem in Prov 31:10ff. has been read in various ways, by men and by women, as an oppressive and as a liberating text. I will suggest two clues to making sense of the poem. The first is to read it in the context of the book of Proverbs (and not as an isolated poem), and …

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Proverbs as a gendered text

2011-09-02 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

While it is quite clear that Proverbs is a gendered text, the way it speaks of women is interesting. For a text coming from an ancient patriarchal society human women who serve as aspirational models are a surprise. No doubt any real Feminist would instantly switch into “pedestal” mode, but I think it’s worth pausing …

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Understanding the prophets: Part one

2011-08-28 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I am doing a three part series at South City Baptist Church on Sunday afternoons on Understanding the prophets. This week thinking, about what a prophet was and how they spoke, I used the title: “What does a prophet? What does it profit?” these are the slides from the talk. A key idea in this …

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Humourin the Bible: book 23: Isaiah: tragic humour

2011-08-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

At last, I’m on the home straight, the first of the prophets The prophetic books are packed with humour. But right at the start we’ll need to get one thing clear. Humour is not just the comic, entertainment that promotes a giggle or a smile. There is humour also in tragedy, at times when “you …

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Humour in the Bible: 22: Song of Songs

2011-08-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

If you ever want to provoke laughter in church in the 21st century, just read a chunk of the Song of Songs, of course it works better if you get a couple to read to each other! The imagery is just so strange to our culture that almost any passage will achieve laughter in moments. …

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Humour in the Bible: 21B: Ecclesiastes (again)

2011-07-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Never one reluctant to ask for more, David Ker has rightly pointed out that I did not explain how/why Ecclesiastes 10:5-15 is (and was meant to be) funny. So here goes…1 Oh, don’t worry, this won’t be a dull dissection or a boring breakdown, I’ll just show you how several of the signs of humour …

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Humour in the Bible: book 21: Ecclesiastes

2011-07-21 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This series is just getting more and more interesting For Ecclesiastes I came across: Levine, Étan. “The Humor in Qohelet.” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 109, no. 1 (January 1997): 71-83. As well as all its other strengths Levine begins with a nice catalogue of the stupid scholars who have pompously declaimed the absence of …

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Humour in the Bible: book 20 Proverbs

2011-07-11 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

There certainly should certainly be humour in Proverbs, after all the books says: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22) And sure enough when I went humour-hunting Google quickly fitted me up with Hershey H. Friedman, he used to be Bernard H. Stern Professor of Humor …

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Humour in the Bible: book 19: Psalms

2011-07-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

When looking for humour in Psalms, towards the end of the marking season, when teachers are always at a low ebb, I again cheated, asking Bob MacDonald (who has been studying the psalms closely for years now). I’ll repeat some of his general insights about the book, and then take up his suggestion about Psalm …

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Humour in the Bible: book 18: Job

2011-06-29 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

After some quite difficult books, suddenly a couple in a row that are easy. Job is full of humour, for all its dreadful topic and storyline, or perhaps because of them, almost every page sparkles with fun, or with sharp irony or more pointed sarcasm. The big question, of whether the book as a whole …

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Humour in the Bible: book 17: Esther

2011-06-21 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I have argued before that Esther is full of sexual and/or gendered humour, but that was before I took the topic of humour in the Bible (documents from very different cultural contexts from ours) seriously. Now however I have nine criteria to measure whether it is likely that authors intended the humour we find. These …

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Humour in the Bible: book 16: Nehemiah

2011-06-20 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Nehemiah seems like a typical Sunday School story of a book, a sort of hero story made even less interesting by being told by the hero. Like Ezra it is not the first place I’d look searching for humour in Scripture. Yet, I think reading Nehemiah 6 we can trace more than one example of …

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Humour in the Bible, book 15: Ezra

2011-06-05 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Ezra is far from the funniest book in the Bible, or the easiest read. Yet even here there are hints and traces of that most human of phenomena, humour. In Ezra 3:12-13 (as often) one either has to laugh or cry. Throughout the book something funny is going on with language and translation (see e.g. …

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Humour in the Bible, book 14: 2 Chronicles 18

2011-05-25 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The strange, and strangely disturbing story of Micaiah ben Imlah in 2 Chronicles 18 which repeats very closely its source in 1 Kings 221 it ticks all the boxes as a passage intended to be funny. And when you read it, it is hilarious. From Jehoshaphat’s gentle resistance through Zedekiah with a “Viking” helmet, and …

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Humour in the Bible 13: 1 Chronicles 4 The Prayer of Jabez

2011-05-22 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The prayer of Jabez was wildly popular a few years back among voguish Christians worried about the lack of obvious and excess prosperity in their lives (compared to those richer and general better off than them, not compared to the world population in general). Even without that 1 Chron 4:9-10 is funny (strange peculiar, if …

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Humour in the Bible: Book 12: 2 Kings 1: Mission interrupted.

2011-05-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Since Google suggests the first chapter of 2 Kings is humorous I’ll measure it against the criteria. It meets most (but not all) which i think makes it clear this passage is not merely funny but was intended to be funny. Though again it is a “black” humour. As a bonus I’ll offer a reading …

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Humour in the Bible 11: 1 Kings: In an idol moment

2011-05-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Idols, “gods” that people make! The very idea of making a god is one of those notions that almost have to reduce you to tears (whether of laughter or sadness and desperation depends on the circumstances), and the Bible has plenty of fun at the expense (in both senses) of idols. In this episode, therefore, …

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Humour in the Bible 10: 2 Samuel: God explains ‘himself’

2011-05-15

The narrative books are on the whole easy targets for finding humour, so again I’ll recycle an old podcast This time in 2 Samuel 7 where God plays with words and puns away while explaining what he meant… So, here’s the link to the audio: God the Exegete…

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Humour in the Bible 9: 1 Samuel: Introducing Saul

2011-05-14 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

For 1 Samuel I am going to cheat again, I just don’t think I can beat the hilarious introduction the first king, Saul, receives. In these two podcasts (again repeated)1  I’ll point up some of the fun in the tale of Saul and the donkeys So, here are links to the audio: Introducing Saul (1 …

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Humour in the Bible: 8 Ruth: Ruth is from Moab, Boaz is from Bethlehem

2011-05-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Ruth is a lovely story, it’s humour is1 gentle and subtle. Part of the subtlety is that most (though not all) of the signs of humour are missing. However, I think we are intended to smile in at least two ways in the portrayal of the characters. For this entry in the humour series I …

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Aagh technical difficulties

2011-05-13

I had to reinstall all the posts here from a backup. Now the little audio player that allowed you to play the files on the page (rather than downloading them) is broken. To do it another way means manually editing over 200 posts Can anyone help…

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Would a rose smell as sweet? What’s in a name? Genesis 22

2011-05-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Usually I try to present the ideas in these podcasts so that anyone can understand. However, this time if you cannot read Scripture except in translation and you have not learned to use an interlinear or computer Bible to get beyond that handicap, this podcast may be less accessible. It deals with the naming of …

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Humour in the Bible Book 7 Judges: Gender Bending

2011-05-01 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Judges is one Bible book where it has been common to recognise humour. Ehud killing the fat and oppressive king Eglon in the toilet has been a popular example, though  I’ll pretty much leave the scatology to David and others who appreciate it I’d rather focus on gender. In Judges relationships between men and women …

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Signs of humour: especially in written texts across cultures

2011-04-29 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

David Ker, in one of the posts that stimulated this series, poses the serious and significant question: given the cultural gulf that separates us from the authors of Scripture how can we be sure something we see as funny tickled ancient Hebrew funny bones? Spotting humour is easier in speech than writing, and spotting humour
...read more…

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5 minute talks on each of the E100 readings

2011-04-28

Although all my talks on the E100 readings should be listed here (in roughly reverse  order) the listing here is much more convenient: E100 reflections on each reading…

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E100-69: John 20:1 – 21:25: The Resurrection

2011-04-23 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this podcast I’ll introduce the idea of the ending of John as a sphragis, and very briefly mention what that might mean for reading John’s gospel, but most of the time will be spent on the much less technical question of why I am convinced that Jesus rose from death and met with the
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E100-68: John 19:1 – 19:42: The Crucifixion

2011-04-21 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This chapter gives what it tells us is an eyewitness account of a Roman execution. Jesus, who has done no real wrong, except offend the religious leaders, and worry the politicians is subjested to the casual brutality of an imperial production-line death. Such a death, of an innocent man, is shocking. But Jesus was not
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E100-67: John 18:1 – 40: Jesus secret and three betrayals

2011-04-20 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this chapter, we get the climax of John’s series of sayings where Jesus echoes the divine “I am” cf. Exodus 3 (E100-17: Exodus 3-4: Getting the holy between your toes!), and we also notice how amid powerful people who seem muddled and out of control, Jesus (the one who seems to be the victim)
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E100-66: Luke 22:1 – 46: The Last Supper

2011-04-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Passover was the greatest pilgrimage festival for 1st century Jews, Jerusalem was packed with people (like for a world cup – only more crowded celebrating the great liberation from foreign oppression that God worked for Moses and the ancestors in Exodus. No wonder the Romans were jumpy, no wonder the Sadducees on the Sanhedrin (Jewish [...]…

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Holy Week podcasting

2011-04-16

Since (at least Western) Christians this week leading to the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Day by first remembering the events of the days leading up to Jesus’ death, and remember his crucifixion on Friday, I will not be podcasting any of my “Humour in the Bible” series this week. Rather I will repeat [...]…

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E100: Week 14: Death and resurrection

2011-04-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Gospels are not biographies, nor are they just collections of sayings, they focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Without either event can’t understand Jesus or the gospel. But we also to see and understand that Jesus is God incarnate and that Jesus is risen else his dearth and the disciples turnaround between end of gospels [...]…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 5 Deuteronomy

2011-04-15 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

This podcast, suggesting a gentle wry smile in Dt 1:6 was inspired by a blog post from Rabbi Michal Shekel “Could it be possible to stay too long at the site of Revelation?” There are also quotes from: Tigay, J. Deuteronomy. Jewish Publication Society, 1994, 8; and Rashi on Dt 1:6. As well as Dt [...]…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 2 Exodus

2011-04-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this post we’ll discover some humour from below. The humour of the oppressed often pokes fun at the oppressor. Those who subjugate others fear them, and this fear generates feelings of inferiority that in Exodus some oppressed women manipulate delightfully.   Please open your Bibles at Exodus 1-2.   So, here’s the link to [...]…

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Humour in the Bible: Book 1 Genesis

2011-04-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In a post Why the Bible is just not (so) funny David returned to a theme he’s argued before, that the Bible is not funny. Aparently back in 2007 he issued a challenge that readers of his blog could not give examples of humour from every book in the Bible: Funny Stuff in the Bible. [...]…

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Jonah and the Essential Truths of Scripture

2011-04-02 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The prophet Jonah (at least as his story is told in the book that bears his name) is perhaps the most orthodox if perhaps the most heteropractic1 prophet in the Bible! Yet this book perhaps better than any other in the Old Testament encapsulates the essential truths of Scripture. [For more on the "Perspicuity of [...]…

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Jonah 1:9 and the things Jonah says!

2011-03-31 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I’ve already a podcast on Jonah 1:7-8 Direct speech in biblical narratives if you want a fill in between the last podcast and this one. Had you noticed? We were eight verses into the book and Jonah had not said one word. In Jonah 1:1-8 not a peep out of Jonah the prophet, so 1:9 [...]…

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Jonah 1:4-5 : Big!

2011-03-30 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In these two verses we get some more clues about how to read the book of Jonah, we’ll notice how everything is big, and how the ship has personality. I’ll suggest that Jonah is in some ways like a children’s story, larger than life and painted in bright primary colours. I’ll even suggest that there [...]…

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Universalism, or Not? Part Two: Psalm 69

2011-03-28 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

As a counterbalance to Jonah I’ll take Psalm 69. I’m considering it as typifying many Bible passages where people pray imprecation on evil people (usually their own enemies, but sometimes the enemies of others). Something deep in us wants to believe that God is just. Such prayers appeal to this. .   Right-click here to [...]…

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Universalism, or Not? Part One: Jonah

2011-03-27 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this short series (of two podcasts) I’ll describe two things I think I know, two stakes in the ground when I come to think about the topic of “universalism” that has been much discussed (and even more an excuse for slanging matches) recently around the Bible-focused blogs. Let’s start by admitting there are many [...]…

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When prophecy turns sour: Jer 6:1-8

2011-03-18 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Back in the days before I was a professional Bible teacher I could never have imagined anyone wanting to rip the book of Jeremiah from Scripture. Jeremiah the emotional prophet, who speaks sometimes such lovely promises, who expresses how his own and God’s hearts are torn by the terrible future (and present) Judah’s apostasy and [...]…

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History or Theology: the Bible as a document

2011-03-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Gavin in his post “Mrs. God” linked to my recent podcasts about Yahweh’s wife, he notes one area for discussion: I’m a bit worried about the distinction Tim makes between a historically married god and a theological entity who wasn’t, but it’ll be interesting to see where it all leads. To respond in this podcast [...]…

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Yahweh: God the midwife

2011-03-17 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this podcast I’ll briefly argue that since the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) regularly pictures Yahweh as intimately associated with both forming in the womb and birthing, and particularly since “his” role is often as midwife “he” cannot be thought of as a male god. Rather “he” is God and as later (though very early [...]…

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Was God married? Part two: the death of the goddess

2011-03-16 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Francesca Stavrakopoulou closed her article “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE” saying: I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like had the goddess remained. Let’s explore the evidence and try to answer her speculation. This evidence comes mainly from surrounding peoples, though the Bible has some [...]…

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Why do you read? Part two: The genocide of the Canaanites

2011-03-15 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In this podcast I’ll suggest that noticing the importance of why we read Scripture can help clarify at least the theological question about the genocide of the Canaanites. Listen to my previous two posts for more on how knowing why we read matters: Why do you read? Or: Was God married? Are you an idolater? [...]…

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Are you an idolater? (Not – Was God married? Part Two)

2011-03-14 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

I know I promised two sequels to yesterday’s podcast. But I think I need first to explore the theme of the gender of God (Yahweh) in the Old Testament, and the evidence for Yahweh’s wife, a bit more first. Bear with me and we will get to “Why do you read? Part two: The genocide [...]…

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Why do you read? Or: Was God married?

2011-03-13 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

The Daily Mail (a UK tabloid newspaper) carried an article “Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE”1 It caused a flurry among the Twittering classes, and on Facebook, and even among the biblioblogs (though in the latter group most dismissed the article saying: What can you expect from a British [...]…

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Where do you read “from”?

2011-03-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Way back, at the turn of the century, I wrote an article for  Festschrift volume: Tim Bulkeley, “Where do you read.” in Mission without Christendom: exploring the site, essays for Brian Smith (Carey Studies in Theology) Auckland: Carey Baptist College, 13-22. Among other things it noted how the assumptions and cultural baggage we bring to [...]…

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Jer 4:23-27 uncreation

2011-03-06 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

We looked at this passage in class last week. I’ve based this podcast on my own very literal translation (so as to make spotting how if works easier). The translation with a couple of explanatory notes is here: Jeremiah 4:23-27 (translation and notes) . Right-click here to save the podcast for this audio…

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God the Dalek (Part One): Cotext

2011-02-20 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

In some Bible passages as atheists and others who want to avoid the claims of God are quick to point out God sounds like a Dalek. Deut 7:2 is a typical case. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties [...]…

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Did God “seduce” Jeremiah?

2011-02-12 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

My earlier podcast: The last Confession of Jeremiah: Jeremiah 20: Yahweh seduces his prophet I simply assumed the translation seduce” for patah But “seduce” is not a translation favoured by English translations. I dealt with this issue briefly in a blog post Did Yahweh seduce Jeremiah? with a bibliographic note Did God seduce Jeremiah? Addendum [...]…

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Jeremiah’s fourth confession: Jer 18:18-23 the continuing drama of Jeremiah and his Yahweh

2011-02-07 :: Dr Tim Bulkeley

Sorry this podcast is firstly out of order (it should have come before the last confession and then late (it should also have come a while back but I’ve been busy trying to get a paper on Isaiah finished This fourth confession illustrates strongly both the dramatic narrative character of these “confessions” and that they [...]…

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Jeremiah’s first confession: Jer 11:18-12:6: Part Two Jeremiah and Yahweh

2011-01-20

In the previous two podcasts in this series I’ve introduced “the Confessions of Jeremiah” and the first confession (11:18-12:6). Here we’ll look at this text from the point of view of how it portrays the characters of Jeremiah (in…

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Jeremiah’s first confession: Jer 11:18-12:6: Part One

2011-01-19

Before thinking about this “confession” we’ll first look at lament psalms briefly. Lament psalms often contain: an address (maybe simply “O God” or “O Lord”) a/some complaint(s) a request for help addressed to God the affirma…

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The Confessions of Jeremiah

2011-01-18

A series of passages in Jeremiah stand out because of their contents which presents itself as powerful debates about Jeremiah, his call, his enemies and his God. In some of them Jeremiah seems to be speaking alone, in otgher God responds. These “Con…

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Coming back to the heart of worship

2010-12-02

We’ve just recorded the video for the new CareyMedia DVD, this year it is conversations between small groups of us, one I was involved in was about worship. So, here I want to suggest that Leviticus (esp. Lev 19:1-2) and Isaiah 6 can help us come ba…

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2 Kings 10: a really nasty text as a test for the 5 step process

2010-11-03

I once made a silly offer: “Give me a random Old Testament passage, and I’ll show you how the 5 step process works!” So they offered me 2 Kings 10, the lovely story of the seventy heads offered to Jehu in baskets. (Read it yourself if yo…

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What DID the text mean?

2010-09-19

In our student exegesis assignments we ask them to state the intended meaning for the ancient hearers, ideally in one sentence, maybe two, never more than 50 words. They commonly have two problems. The first is being brief ;) I have a Sansblogue post on w…

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When Bible passages contradict each other

2010-09-17

The flat out contradictions in Scripture make Bible readers jumpy.Conservatives seek to defend the “integrity” of Scripture by denying that there is any (even the slightest) disagreement, those on the other side delight in the “proofR…

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E100-100: Rev 21:1 – 22:21: New Heaven and New Earth

2010-09-02

“I am making everything new” what a wonderful promise! Not just a repair or clean up, but a renewed creation. Back in Genesis, the new line that started with Seth instead of Cain (the murderer) failed, after the flood Noah who was “a righteous man,…

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E100-99: Rev 19:1 – 20:15: Hallelujah!

2010-09-01

With this reading, skipping all the confusing stuff about the seven seals and the seven bowls, and most of the material about the false bride (the whore of Babylon), we come straight to the end of the beginning in chapter 19. We’ve returned to the t…

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E100-98: Rev 4:1 – 7:17: The Throne of Heaven

2010-08-31

If you’ve been wonderoing when all the visions in Revelation begin, wonder no more. Today’s reading is full of visions. A throne in heaven: for God alone rules heaven and earth. One sitting on it: God is not named, for that would be too famili…

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E100-97: Rev 2:1 – 3:22: Messages to the Churches

2010-08-30

Most listeners to this podcast, judging by the website stats, come from comfortable Western countries. If this is you (and it is ME) then most of what is said to the first six churches does not closely fit us, though it more often gives us goals to aim fo…

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E100-96: Rev 1:1 – 1:20: A Voice and a Vision

2010-08-29

This reading introduces the book and Revelation needs introducing because it is a difficult book. Among its oddities are the rhetorical flourishes (present elsewhere in the Bible but very strongly featured here), the use of picture language (which interes…

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E100: Week 20: Reading Revelation

2010-08-28

The book calls itself the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ – the revelation the disclosure of hidden things – so like parts of Daniel it will show us glimpses “behind the scenes” of the world letting us see a bit of what Christ is doing off stage.…

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E100-95: 1 John 3:11 – 4:21: Love One Another

2010-08-26

Beware this reading is dangerous! After readings from Peter and then James, the E100 gives us another reading from one of the less Greek of the NT writers. Like James John circles round his topic and returns to the same “place” (though having moved forwar…

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