It’s a matter of getting the right perspective

by Richard on February 18, 2014

Brian Zahnd explains his problem with the Bible. Chances are, it’s yours too.

I’m an ancient Egyptian. I’m a comfortable Babylonian. I’m a Roman in his villa.

That’s my problem. See, I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation.

I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem.

One of the most remarkable things about the Bible is that in it we find the narrative told from the perspective of the poor, the oppressed, the enslaved, the conquered, the occupied, the defeated. This is what makes it prophetic. We know that history is written by the winners. This is true — except in the case of the Bible it’s the opposite! This is the subversive genius of the Hebrew prophets. They wrote from a bottom-up perspective.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


John 02.19.14 at 4:04 am

Please find an essay and website which describe why reading the Bible in the “21st century” leaves you singularly unequipped to understand quite literally everything .
And why/how Truth appears and manifests from the “top” down to the toes. The author uses the metaphor of washing a dog, pointing out that it is impossible to wash a dog from the tail up, towards the head, you always have to begin with the head.
And yes what became the “official” version of the Bible (and of “official” institutional Christianity) was fabricated by the church fathers who won the culture wars of their time and place.
They thus fabricated the Bible to consolidate their worldly power and privileges, and simultaneously gave themselves the mandate/justifications for putting the inevitable dissenting “heretics” in their proper place - that is, very dead!
The rest of course became the inevitable the blood-soaked horrors of “official” institutionalized Christianity - the applied politics of Constantine’s famous Sword. How else do you think that Christianity became THE world DOMINANT religion?


Richard 02.19.14 at 8:22 am

I haven’t read the article yet, but the metaphor you describe is quite wrong. It’s by no means impossible to bath a dog tail first. (I speak from experience!)


Richard 02.19.14 at 9:25 am

Just did my best with that link. I feel quite cheated. Not only did I not understand it at all, but there was no mention of dogs either!

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