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Untangling Rebekah, Isaac, and Ishmael: A Source Critical Approach to Abraham Stories (Genesis 17-24)

It was supposed to be a few minutes of source criticism; it turned into a minicast; now it's a full special episode! After the minicast on the composition of Torah a couple of weeks ago, I'm testing the source critical approach on the stories of Rebekah, Isaac, and Ishmael: how does the approach work in practice, and does it really add anything useful to our Bible reading toolkit? Read transcript Read more »


voice (2019/01/13)

It's a big four cubits welcome back to last-minute co-host Nat Ritmeyer for the Psalms segment this week, as we dive back into the theology of Iron Age Israel through its poetry. We also have a shorter Genesis segment (stay tuned for more of Rebekah's story next week), and in Matthew we're looking again at the evangelist's use of material from Mark's gospel. Read transcript Read more »


hubris and lordship (2019/01/06)

Happy new first full podcast of the new year! We dive right in with the iconic Babel story, which reaches forwards and backwards across the narrative of early Genesis, and seems written to resonate particularly with exile-era Israel. Add to that a few psalms, and Jesus as Lord and servant in Matthew's gospel, and we're off! Read transcript Read more »

minicast: Compilation of the Psalter

OK, so I did an intro to the book of Psalms while recording episode #45, and... well, you can probably guess. So here it is in minicast #2! Psalms might have an even more interesting textual history than Torah, but we'll almost certainly never be able to figure it out. What we can do is bear it in mind as we read and interpret the Psalms - both individually, and as an integrated book. Read transcript Read more »

minicast: Composition of Torah

As we prepare to get stuck into Torah in 2019, here's the first 4QS minicast! It's a brief introduction to source critical theories of composition, particularly focusing on the modern form of the Documentary Hypothesis. I also give a quick intro to other composition theories, and discuss the important question: why does it matter? Read transcript Read more »

message, myth, and truth (2018/12/24)

And we're back, with thanks to my friend Jessica for being the podcast's first live-in-person co-host! This week we go to Job, Malachi, and Revelation to talk about biblical literature, history, mythical creatures, and the end of the world. Read transcript Read more »


mercy and retribution (2018/12/09)

Mercy is a recurring theme in today's readings, both its lack and its abundance. Maybe the extent to which we show mercy depends to a large extent on what we believe about God, and God's character. We explore that theme in this episode, through Zophar, Micah, and James. Read transcript Read more »


literature and renewal (2018/12/02)

An extended segment on Job dives into the curious framing narrative that opens the book. With a heightened sense of reality and a gathering of divine beings, what's really going on here - and what part does it really play in the drama of Job? A similar, literary look at the middle of the Jonah narrative gives way to a consideration of what modern people do with ancient prophecy - and Hebrews picks up that question and runs with it! Read transcript Read more »


purity and harmony (2018/11/25)

Yes, this week's episode is super-late, but here it is! This week we explore the limits of Nehemiah's strong justice ethic (hint: you don't have to go far to find them), and it's hard not to be disappointed in him. The other two readings - Amos and 2 Timothy - make challenging counter-points. Read transcript Read more »


life and taxes (2018/11/18)

This week, Nehemiah brings some prophetic fire to his governorship of Jerusalem, as he literally lays down The Law on the ruling class. Hope for a better future infuses all three passages for this Sunday, via lament (in Joel) and peace (in 1 Thessalonians). Read transcript Read more »


law and vindication (2018/11/11)

Ezra - second Moses, wise as kings, expert in Torah - comes to restore to the people of Judah the true worship and knowledge of the blessed Yahweh, God of their fathers. The pre-exilic setting of Hosea makes a great juxtaposition with Ezra's post-exilic memoir this week, and Paul is reaching the end of his tumultuous life journey in Acts. Read transcript Read more »


reversal and trust (2018/11/04)

Three really literary passages this week, where reversal and revision are the order of the day. Manasseh flip-flops, the names of Hosea's kids are inverted, and Peter does an about-face on Torah observance for the Gentile Christians. Read transcript Read more »


prophecy and revelation (2018/10/28)

It's a slightly longer episode this week, due to an extra-long segment on Daniel 4. I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into there, but it ended up throwing me a curve ball. I really wanted to share it all with you, so I went a bit light on 2 Chronicles to fit it all in. We're going back to the Septuagint again this week as well, to shed some more light on both the Daniel and Acts passages. Read transcript Read more »


imagination and growth (2018/10/21)

Does God delight in the massacre of his people's enemies? In Chronicles this week, he enables the slaughter of towns and tents full of civilians. If that weren't challenging enough: when God will live with his people in the future Kingdom, will it look like ancient Near Eastern cultic worship? And just to cap it all off, Jesus likes you to believe some stuff, but what he really expects you to do is get out there and do something about it. Read transcript Read more »


Trajectories (Ephesians 5-6)

Another Sunday morning talk for you this week, based in the Ephesians 5-6 reading from the Bible Companion plan on Sunday 7th October. I was addressing a challenging subject from the household code section: how do we move forward from the pages of scripture toward the light of Jesus Christ? What does it look like to really engage the text in our lives? Read transcript Read more »


Gospel to the Marginalised (Luke 8)

We've been calling Luke's gospel 'the gospel to the marginalised', for his consistent focus on Jesus' interactions with people on the edges of society. But what does that mean in practice? It's much easier to study the text and observe how the narrative works, than it is to answer the challenge to enact the same in our own churches and lives. Read transcript Read more »


judgment and responsibility (2018/09/16)

Continuing our recent theme of the relationship between the Bible and history, King Josiah is front and center for the Deuteronomist this week - though God's response is objectively surprising (if literarily inevitable). Ezekiel is doing his Masterpiece Theatre thing again, and Luke cuts short a quotation to throw wide the doors of God's mercy. Read transcript Read more »


fate and faithfulness (2018/09/09)

The two Hebrew Bible readings this week are both narratives of fatalism: Kings looks back to the inevitable fall of Israel from the Judean captivity, and Ezekiel looks forward to the inevitable fall of Jerusalem from the Israelite captivity. And Mary, mother of Jesus, preaches up a storm in Luke's gospel. Read transcript Read more »


emotion and hierarchy (2018/09/02)

It's our one-year anniversary! We're looking at the significance of the generic 'Elisha and the king of Israel' stories early in 2 Kings, and really getting stuck into the emotional struggle in Lamentations. In 1 Corinthians, our spirit is tested again - this time by the non-hierarchical organisation of the early Pauline churches. Read transcript Read more »


retribution and conscience (2018/08/26)

As we continue to engage with the historical storytelling of the Deuteronomist, we're confronted with whiny cry-baby King Ahab and a sneak attack by the challenge of divine retribution. Jeremiah has a screed against Moab and a peek into pre-exilic Israelite religion. But mostly we're spending this week with the apostle Paul, talking about sex, marriage, and the Christian conscience. Read transcript Read more »