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I am looking for a Bible Commentary. All the ones I have looked are might just as well have been written in the 1700's,

 

Are their any Bible Commentaries written from a progressive view point? If not, that might be a good project.

 

steve

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I don't know a commentary for the entire Bible. I'd recommend finding commentaries on specific books. I don't have my copy handy, but I suspect that Borg's book on the Bible might be useful here. I'll check that tonight and get back to you.

 

As far as biblical commentaries I've actually, read, I've only read one: Barth's commentary on Romans, and I can't recommend that to people unless they don't mind dense academic writing (EDIT: If you don't mind that, however, it's an awesome book). As I posted in another thread, though, it has some overlap with progressive Christianity in that he rejects biblical literalism the way its usually defined in the US, he is passionate in his argument that Christians don't have a monopoly on Righteousness, and a few other things. He also has a few views that are in conflict with a progressive POV, but its good to get challenged a little here and there B)

Edited by Nick the Nevermet

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I don't know about commentaries from a specifically progressive point of view, but the Oxford Bible Commentary and Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible strike me as being of use for a critical, non-sectarian understanding of the texts.

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I am looking for a Bible Commentary. All the ones I have looked are might just as well have been written in the 1700's,

 

Are their any Bible Commentaries written from a progressive view point? If not, that might be a good project.

 

steve

 

Steve,

 

I am not sure exactly what you mean by commentary. There are a couple of what I would call 'references' that I find useful for the NT. They approach the texts more objectively and take no theological position. So, I don't know that they would represent a "progressive point of view."

 

One is "The Five Gospels" published by the Jesus Seminar (also available from Amazon). The Jesus Seminar Fellows identify what they think (from an academic point of view) is authentic to Jesus in the texts. They often have 'commentary' on why they think a particular passage is authentic or not.

 

Another is "The Early Christian Reader" by Mason and Robinson. This examines all the texts of the NT as well as some non-canonical early Christian texts. Each text is preceded by a section discussing the context of the writing, the likely author, the place, the intended audience, etc. Then, the text is highly footnoted with comments about the meaning (for the author's intended audience), etc.

 

George

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I just remembered, too, that there is a good series of commentaries from the Anglican Church entitled 'Conversations With Scripture'. The series only covers a handful of texts, taken from both testaments; and each book in the series is sold separately. However, I think they are very readable and enlightening, and pretty close to a 'progressive' theology (I have books on Mark and Revelation, and the one on Mark was written by Marcus Borg).

 

Peace,

Mike

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I don't know about commentaries from a specifically progressive point of view, but the Oxford Bible Commentary and Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible strike me as being of use for a critical, non-sectarian understanding of the texts.

 

While I don't own either of these, I do own the The New Interpreter's Study Bible, which also seems solid.

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A couple more suggestions --the HarperCollins Study Bible (NRSV).

 

Also I’ve seen good reviews of the Women’s Bible Commentary (Newsom & Ringe).

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I am looking for a Bible Commentary. All the ones I have looked are might just as well have been written in the 1700's,

 

Are their any Bible Commentaries written from a progressive view point? If not, that might be a good project.

 

steve

 

You might check out the New Interpreter's Bible series in twelve volumes. Date of production is 1994 but it is solid and contemporary. Expensive but you can buy them as needed as individual volumes. Vol 8 on Matthew and Mark runs for over 700 pages. It also have heaps of notes, references, reflections as well as historical essays. It's worth the dough - and I am a critical student.

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Check out "Genesis As Dialogue: A Literary, Historical, and Theological Commentary", and "The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary" by Thomas L. Brodie. The best I've found though are the works by Wes Howard-Brook, such as ""Come Out, My People!" God's Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond", "Becoming Children of God: John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship", "John's Gospel & the Renewal of the Church", "Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now", and "The New Testament: Introducing the Way of Discipleship".

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Welcome Ryan!  Care to pick out a single observation from your reading list?  The questions that interest me the most about Genesis are:

1) Why was God so interested in how Adam would name the animals, and why didn't God know beforehand?

2) What is the plural nature of the Elohim and God's heavenly council?

3) The narratives of the nephilim and raphilim.

4) The theophanies; particularly in the garden.

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Yeah, I've been really enjoying "Come Out My People" by Wes Howard-Brook (as well as the rest of his works). Something he introduced me to is the idea of two conflicting voices in the Bible (and extra Biblical writtings) , one in support of empire (the David/Solomon story in Samuel-1 Kings 11, Ezra/Nehemiah, Deuteronomy and Joshua, First Isaiah and others), and the other against it (the Exodus story, Genesis, Second and Third Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Daniel, Paul's letters, the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews, James, 1-2 John and Revelation). Ever since I came across the idea of Genesis being written as a polemic against Enuma Elish, and the flood story being set against things like the Gilgamesh Epic (and other ancient near east parallels) I didn't know what to do with that. I used to be super fundamentalist. Reading a lot of the old testament in it's historical setting, as Howard-Brook suggests being composed in Babalonian exile, makes so much sense. Looking at scripture through the lens of the two voices, one he calls "the religion of creation", the other "the religion of empire", also sheds light on why there was so much opposition from "the religion of empire" to Jesus and His message, in the tradition of the prophets, in support of "the religion of creation". 

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I've also been going through a lot of Richard Rohr's stuff (especially his lectures on Audible.com) and I really like how he puts a spiritual/devotional flavor to progressive christianity that I haven't found in very many places yet. 

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On 8/22/2018 at 9:07 AM, Burl said:

2) What is the plural nature of the Elohim and God's heavenly council?

3) The narratives of the nephilim and raphilim.

In regard to these two topics, you might be interested in checking out Michael Heiser's book "The Unseen Realm". I found it incredibly enlightening:). He talks about the various ways the word "elohim" was used in scripture (for God, other heavenly beings, and even Samuel's ghost) and suggests that it was used as a term for what realm a being inhabited more so than a specific being. He showed how what we call angels were often called elohim and gets into how God assigned different elohim to different nations but chose Israel as His own and how He called them out for not acting justly in judging the nations in Psalm 82. Really very interesting and great read. I could hardly put it down:) (Check out Psalm 82 in the ESV to see a closer reading to the Hebrew. Heiser was on the team who put together that translation, if I'm not mistaken).

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6 hours ago, Ryan said:

In regard to these two topics, you might be interested in checking out Michael Heiser's book "The Unseen Realm". I found it incredibly enlightening:). He talks about the various ways the word "elohim" was used in scripture (for God, other heavenly beings, and even Samuel's ghost) and suggests that it was used as a term for what realm a being inhabited more so than a specific being. He showed how what we call angels were often called elohim and gets into how God assigned different elohim to different nations but chose Israel as His own and how He called them out for not acting justly in judging the nations in Psalm 82. Really very interesting and great read. I could hardly put it down:) (Check out Psalm 82 in the ESV to see a closer reading to the Hebrew. Heiser was on the team who put together that translation, if I'm not mistaken).

Yes!  I find Heiser's arguments compelling and quite different from what I was taught in seminary.  It shows the value of accurate bible reading over the mere repetition of old ideas and dogmas.  His YouTube channel is a good introduction.

 

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It was interesting from an academic perspective but as Heiser said, this was the context of the biblical writers at the time they wrote for those for whom they wrote. Therefore, it offers their take or insight into God, however it doesn't follow (as he acknowledges) that it is speaks to our context or that it must be our take on God. It also doesn't follow that it is an accurate take on God or the spiritual world as it is. It is at odds with the insight into God of many modern people.

The way Heiser speak of God, seemingly, remains consistent with the concept of God in traditional theism: a God who is unique among the gods but still a being among and greater than other spiritual beings/gods. But is God a being, a Supreme Being?

Even his concern about how inspiration is understood (X-Files), opting instead for such inspiration to be understood as God's Providence (knowng everything including how he will use a particular person someday to write for him), doesn't resonate: Based on this video, I disagree with his idea of God and his idea of Providence. 

I can see how others might be interested and attracted to his position (and again it holds interest for me from an academic perspective) but it is not determinative of what I (or others) believe about God, man, providence, the spiritual world, etc.

If one believes that the Bible is inspired (however this is understood) and a revelation from God, this takes on an entirely different meaning and it is of utmost importance to one. If one believes the Bible is human insight into the experience of God and that revelation is not information about (in this example, a spiritual council) God but the omnipresent self-revealing (self-giving) of God to creation in the ordinary, everyday - it is seen in a very different light.

Edited by thormas

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

It was interesting from an academic perspective but as Heiser said, this was the context of the biblical writers at the time they wrote for those for whom they wrote. Therefore, it offers their take or insight into God, however it doesn't follow (as he acknowledges) that it is speaks to our context or that it must be our take on God. It also doesn't follow that it is an accurate take on God or the spiritual world as it is. It is at odds with the insight into God of many modern people.

The way Heiser speak of God, seemingly, remains consistent with the concept of God in traditional theism: a God who is unique among the gods but still a being among and greater than other spiritual beings/gods. But is God a being, a Supreme Being?

Even his concern about how inspiration is understood (X-Files), opting instead for such inspiration to be understood as God's Providence (knowng everything including how he will use a particular person someday to write for him), doesn't resonate: Based on this video, I disagree with his idea of God and his idea of Providence. 

I can see how others might be interested and attracted to his position (and again it holds interest for me from an academic perspective) but it is not determinative of what I (or others) believe about God, man, providence, the spiritual world, etc.

If one believes that the Bible is inspired (however this is understood) and a revelation from God, this takes on an entirely different meaning and it is of utmost importance to one. If one believes the Bible is human insight into the experience of God and that revelation is not information about (in this example, a spiritual council) God but the omnipresent self-revealing (self-giving) of God to creation in the ordinary, everyday - it is seen in a very different light.

There is also the value of approaching truthful cultural and historical perspectives.  Assessing righteousness by personal opinions and by the arrogant discounting of ancient scholars has no more coherence than a fistful of flutters.

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

It was interesting from an academic perspective but as Heiser said, this was the context of the biblical writers at the time they wrote for those for whom they wrote. Therefore, it offers their take or insight into God, however it doesn't follow (as he acknowledges) that it is speaks to our context or that it must be our take on God. It also doesn't follow that it is an accurate take on God or the spiritual world as it is. It is at odds with the insight into God of many modern people.

I too have moved away from an apples to apples take on God that transposes the view much of the Old Testament takes over how we interact with and view God today. Based on your comment, you may be interested in checking out Keith Giles' "Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible". If you research Keith himself, he seems like a really stand up guy (not that that makes his stance more accurate, but I think character goes a long way in assesing one's exposure to a loving God.)

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

There is also the value of approaching truthful cultural and historical perspectives.  Assessing righteousness by personal opinions and by the arrogant discounting of ancient scholars has no more coherence than a fistful of flutters.

I agree in the value of cultural and historical perspectives - and this was the perspective of the biblical writers as noted by Heiser.

There is no righteousness or assessment of righteousness, merely a statement of fact: that the perspective of many contemporary people is not in agreement with the perspective of those whom Heiser discusses. Many modern people, including many 'progressive' Christians simply don't think of God among other gods or spiritual worlds or God in theistic terms. 

There is no discounting of ancient scholars - only an acknowledgement of what they truly wrote, ala Heiser - and the obvious: that the perspective of modern scholars (and others) differs. 

 

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16 minutes ago, Ryan said:

I too have moved away from an apples to apples take on God that transposes the view much of the Old Testament takes over how we interact with and view God today. Based on your comment, you may be interested in checking out Keith Giles' "Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible". If you research Keith himself, he seems like a really stand up guy (not that that makes his stance more accurate, but I think character goes a long way in assesing one's exposure to a loving God.)

I will take a look, thanks. Who else have you read?

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34 minutes ago, thormas said:

I will take a look, thanks. Who else have you read?

Gregory Boyd's "Crucifixion of the Warrior God" and other works; Brian D. McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy", "A New Kind of Christianity" and "The Secret Message of Jesus"; "The God-Shaped Brain" and "The God-Shaped Heart" by Timothy Jennings;
some Wes Howard-Brook, Walter Brueggemann,  Terence E. Fretheim (The Suffering of God An Old Testament Perspective), John Cobb, Walter Wink, Douglas John Hall, Richard Rohr, Marcus J. Borg, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Keating,  Frank Viola, Jean Vanier, Jurgen Moltmann, Charles H. Talbert (I really like his take on divine and human agency in "Getting 'Saved': The Whole Story of Salvation in the New Testament") and others less applicable to progressive christianity. I'm currently looking into liberation theology and am reading the new book by Bob Eckblad called "Guerrilla Gospel: Reading the Bible for Liberation in the Power of the Spirit". It's really good so far. Any recommendations?

(I'm also really enjoying Literary, Historical, and Theological commentaries, like those of Thomas L. Brodie and Charles H. Talbert.)

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15 hours ago, Ryan said:

 

On the biblical side, I like Bart Ehrman, an agnostic historian and biblical/early Christianity scholar (I actually like that he is agnostic and gives as objective a view as he is able), Dale Allison actually changes his (the typical scholarly) approach in 'The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus,' Paula Fredriksen is great (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews), Geza Vermes, the Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar (The Changing Face of Jesus), Luke Timothy Johnson, a Catholic (The Real Jesus), Jill Levine, a Jew, Wright, Dunn are favorites. I never considered Borg or Spong biblical scholars (like these others), more popular commentators and theologians.

I am familiar with some on your list (Borg, Rohr, Nowen, Moltmann), not others. On the theologian side, I like Gregory Baum, John Hick, John Macquarie, Gabriel Mora, Hart and others. I, admittedly, avoid something that leans too far to the Fundamentalist side, traditional, old time (for example Catholic) theology or old time, traditional ideas of inspiration and revelation. Picked up one such scholar and it was painful to get through as I thought he was trying to bend the scriptures to his view  and it was stuff I left behind decades ago. Also, I don't really concentrate on the OT - I find NT scholars have to, of necessity, reference some OT but a full concentration on the OT hold little interest - although I did like some of what Heiser had to say.

Not familiar with Talbert and his book with others but there is definitely a divine and human agency in salvation - but like everything it depends how it is understood. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

 

 

Thanks for all the recomendations! I'm still trying to find more progressive scholars and theologians, I'm fairly new to the progressive christian side of christianity (a lot of my library is hard to read now, there seems to be so much written from the "infallible" camp that I struggle to get much out of it). I too like N.T. Wright, Dunn, Dale Allison, and Luke Timothy Johnson. I've not read anything from Bart Ehrman but have definately heard of him. The others are all new to me and I'll have to check them out:) Have you heard of Peter Enns? If so do you have any thoughts on his stuff? Thanks again:)

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Try John Hick's "The Metaphor of God Incarnate' and Baum's 'Man Becoming' (start with chapters II) and John Macquarie's 'In Search of Deity.' Plus, as mentioned Fredriksen, the biblical scholar is a great writer and scholar.

 

Ehrman has a website and posts very, very often and answers questions. Also in on Youtube and his site for lectures and debates (he is quirky, nerdy and fearless). I like Spong and Borg but I believe that both have preconceived takes on Jesus and Christianity that influences what they interpret. I have not read Enns.

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On 9/3/2018 at 10:14 AM, thormas said:

 

So I just picked up "The Authentic Gospel of Jesus" by Geza Vermes", and "Jesus, Iterrupted" by Bart Ehrman (found them at half price books).Thanks for the recommendations! I'll keep my eye out for more of the ones you suggested:)

 

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