How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

P.OSTOST

22 Jun 2022

Matthew Hartke posted a couple of pages from Robert Carroll’s book When Prophecy Failed: Cognitive Dissonance in the Prophetic Traditions of the Old Testament on Twitter last week. It got me fretting. The argument of the book is that there is evidence in the Old Testament of how Israel sought to mitigate the failure of prophecy either by revising prophecy or by revising history, and that cognitive dissonance theory helps us to understand the psychological or sociological processes underlying the accommodation. The thesis gets at the heart of Hartke’s own rejection of Christianity, which he states very well:

I couldn’t help reaching the conclusion that Christianity itself, in all its various iterations, was the product of our widely attested tendency to cling to our deeply held beliefs when they come into conflict with reality, rationalizing away the conflict instead of letting go.

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Does Paul identify Israel’s Messiah with God in Romans 9:5? I’ve examined this passage a couple of times (see links below) and have been more or less of the opinion that the grammar says perhaps, but the development of thought says no. Since we’ve been looking at Brian Simmons’ The… (21 Jun 2021 | 1 comment)
I continue with my thankless defence of Brian Simmons’ The Passion Translation against the battalion of “highly respected scholars” that Mike Winger has “hired” to wage war against it. Why do I do it? I don’t know. Partly because in an internecine theological spat like this there is… (19 Jun 2021 | 0 comments)
Mike Winger has orchestrated a comprehensive assault on Brian Simmons and The Passion Translation. He is certainly not the only person to criticise the book, but he seems to have a bigger bee buzzing around in his bonnet than most. He has lined up some serious scholars to pass judgment on… (15 Jun 2021 | 2 comments)
I hadn’t heard of The Passion Translation until a friend got in touch wondering whether we should be reading it. It’s a contemporary “translation” of the New Testament, along with the Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs, produced more or less single handedly by Brian Simmons. It’s… (10 Jun 2021 | 7 comments)
Here’s another podcast in the “mission in post-Christian Europe” category. It’s an interview with Paul and Jordan Prins and Sheila Wittenberg about their Urban Monastics project. They have some really good things to say about cross-cultural mission in Western Europe, their reasons for starting an “… (1 Jun 2021 | 0 comments)
Comparisons between Moses and Jesus usually focus on the contrast between Law and grace, not on the persons. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ radical revision of the Law given on Sinai. John says that the Law was through Moses, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). Jews who… (21 May 2021 | 2 comments)
The narrative-historical method reduces the significance of Jesus, which creates an obvious problem for traditionalists. Perhaps “reduces” is asking for trouble. Let’s say that it refocuses our understanding of the biblical figure of Jesus, though the sharper perception comes at… (14 May 2021 | 8 comments)