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The Bible as Literature

Education Podcasts

Each week, Dr. Richard Benton, Fr. Marc Boulos and guests discuss the content of the Bible as literature. On Tuesdays, Fr. Paul Tarazi presents an in-depth analysis of the biblical text in the original languages.

Each week, Dr. Richard Benton, Fr. Marc Boulos and guests discuss the content of the Bible as literature. On Tuesdays, Fr. Paul Tarazi presents an in-depth analysis of the biblical text in the original languages.


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Each week, Dr. Richard Benton, Fr. Marc Boulos and guests discuss the content of the Bible as literature. On Tuesdays, Fr. Paul Tarazi presents an in-depth analysis of the biblical text in the original languages.




They Still Don’t Get It

In a parable seemingly written for our present historical moment, this week’s reading from Matthew dynamites any and all claims made by any and all people on social, moral, economic, civic, legal, or cultural dominance. Pharisees and Herodians—the would-be government of Jerusalem—want to take control away from Caesar's sitting government, itself a religion organized around a self-proclaimed “Son of God.” Each party wants control of the Temple-Palace complex. That last bit is critical. The...


The Oaks

In today’s program, Fr. Paul reminds us that the Bible is a totality, with all its stories written together, in tandem. (Episode 145)


Jesus Doesn’t Need Friends

In the year of our Lord 2020, Matthew’s warning that we are not to judge our neighbor draws a scowl from those who hear it, even as Christians themselves dismiss it. No sooner do we give lip service to this teaching than we scramble to find self-justifying theories that separate us from others. We want to know that we are right; that we are safe; that we can protect and control what we have: we want assurances that God has chosen us. We want to be called his friends. Friend, in Matthew’s...


The Story of Abram

In today’s program Fr. Paul touches on the importance of God’s blessings and curses at the beginning of Genesis 12. (Episode 144)


We Are All Guests

In Matthew’s gospel, the notion of a guest is a useful metaphor. A guest owns nothing, controls nothing, provides nothing, and can do nothing when the host asks them to leave. If you hate being at the mercy of another, the best way to deal with their invitation is to throw it in the trash. Unfortunately for those who shun God’s invite in Matthew, the Lord is not from Minnesota, and, as such, his aggression against them is definitely not passive. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 22:1-7....



In today’s program, Fr. Paul returns to his general commentary on the book of Genesis with a discussion of the literary hinge or turning point at the end of Genesis 11, which serves as a jumping off point to the so called “scriptural story” of Abraham. (Episode 143)


Hope in Destruction

When human beings seek security and safety, they base their defense on brick and mortar buttressed by a fierce criticism of those they deem unrighteous. What to do when that criticism bounces back like a missile, and your only defense is the stone of instruction, which you rejected? 21:25 women are going to have children Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 21:40-45. Episode 353 Matthew 21:40-45; Music: Poofy Reel by Kevin MacLeod Link:


He Does Whatever He Pleases

This week, Fr. Paul concludes his series on the Itinerant word in Genesis 1-11 noting the centrality of divine judgment and the folly of human ethics. (Episode 142)


Running Out of Chances

When Matthew—or any other gospel—applies a text from the Old Testament, that’s exactly what it is: an application of something old to a new situation. The original teaching itself is static, but the way it is used depends on the new situation presented by the author. In the case of Isaiah 5, we know that the Lord is frustrated with worseless fruit, something Matthew addressed earlier in the curse of the fig tree, so why does Matthew bring up the parable of the vineyard? Richard and Fr. Marc...


Decoding Genesis 1-11

Exactly fifty years ago on Monday, October 26 1970, Fr. Paul gave his first lecture at Balamand Seminary in Lebanon, marking the beginning of his incredible academic career. This week, on Monday, October 26, 2020, OCAB Press announced the publication of his latest book, Decoding Genesis 1-11. Touching on themes from this book, in today’s program Fr. Paul explains that Psalms 7, 8 and 9 are meant to be heard together as a trilogy. (Episode 141)


Talk Is Cheap

When anyone gathers to accomplish a task, there are plenty of people who express a willingness to help and no shortage of expert opinions about the work itself and how it should be completed. Great. With all this amazing expertise and positive thinking, there should be no trouble completing the task, right? Guess again. One way to solve this problem is to pay people and hold them accountable if they do not deliver. This is the most effective way. Another approach might be to tap peoples’...


Thou Hast Diminished Him

This week, Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Psalm 82 and Psalm 8 as they relate to Genesis 1-11. (Episode 140)


Consigned to Ignorance

In Matthew 13, Jesus invokes the prophecy of Isaiah against those unable to grasp his teaching because of their ignorance of Scripture: “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says: ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with...


It Has to Be Real

This week Fr. Paul concludes his discussion of the term field, revisiting critical themes from previous episodes, and challenging the common practice of defining words. (Episode 139)


An Expiration on Grace

Critics of the Bible puzzle over cursed fig trees and bristle at violence in the Old Testament, all the while ambivalent to modern atrocities carried out in the name of civil society. One need look no further than the forgotten children of Syria, the devastation in Yemen, or the violence committed against migrant children in this country to understand why biblical metaphor employs the currency of violence. We are shocked by biblical violence because we are blind to the violence already in...


Meaning, Connotation, and Function

In today’s program Fr. Paul continues his discussion of the word “field” in Genesis, noting that the term has a meaning, a connotation, and a function in the Bible. (Episode 138)


True Worship

When human beings think of worship, our natural inclination is to understand prayer as a bargain with God: if I praise you, Lord, this will happen for me. If we praise you correctly, we will prosper. If we praise you, our “righteous” goals will be achieved. From this idolatrous and self-serving fundamentalism proceeds all manner of evil: People who engage in wickedness imagine that they are pure; they approach God in prayer thinking not of their sins but of others; by way of a delusional...


The Spirit of God

This Week, before entering into a discussion of the word “field”, Fr. Paul takes a question from Richard regarding the Spirit of God in Scripture. (Episode 137)


Victory March

In the triumphant entry into Jerusalem portrayed in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is adorned with the standard symbols of a Roman procession: the crowds, evoking bread and circuses; the donkey, a mockery of Caesar Augustus who elevated his stallion to the rank of consul; the gossip in the city, “who is this,” evoking the image of a rising star, a general returning to Rome in victory, suddenly thrust onto center stage. But unlike other generals, Jesus did not enter the city to win its favor, but to...


Through the Nostrils

This week, Fr. Paul notes that the phrase "spiritual life" is nowhere to be found in the Bible, which speaks instead of life bestowed by the Spirit. (Episode 136)