The Growing Problem of Biblical Illiteracy in Our Country

In the wake of one of the most fatal religiously motivated crimes in a string of other recent religiously-fueled terrorist attacks, I’d like to run a series of posts about one of the root problems behind such fatalities. Indeed, there may be many root causes, but as a biblical scholar I am interested in one in particular—biblical illiteracy, and even quranic illiteracy. A survey done not too long ago revealed that while most American Christians professed belief in the Bible, only 10% wereRead More

Defending the Biblical Texts: What It Entails and Why Secularists Ought to Care. Genesis 1 as a Test Case

BlueMarble

I often find myself articulating that my aim is to defend the biblical texts, their authors, and their beliefs (Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate, xii). Many of my readers will undeniably object to my use of the word “defend.” After all, why would a secularist, atheist, agnostic, or de-convert (the majority of my readers) wish to defend the Bible the biblical texts? And precisely, defend it how and from what or whom? Indeed, these readers’ apprehensions are not unwarranted. “Defend scripture” isRead More

Brief Interview with Wipf & Stock about my Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

Modern readers often assume that Genesis 1 depicts the creation of the earth and sky as we know it. Yet in an appeal for textual honesty, Steven DiMattei shows that such beliefs are more representative of modern views about this ancient text than the actual claims and beliefs of its author. Through a culturally-contextualized and objective reading of the texts of Genesis 1 and 2, this study not only introduces readers to the textual data that convincingly demonstrate that Genesis’ two creation accountsRead More

#342. Were the Israelites to dispossess the indigenous Canaanites OR utterly destroy them? (Num 33:51-52; Ex 23:28-33 vs Deut 7:1-16)

The itinerary of Numbers 33 ends at verse 49 with the Israelites on the plains of Moab, with no mention of a Transjordanian conquest as previously noted (#341). Here our Priestly author launches into the conquest of the promised land theme, articulated as the very words of Yahweh himself: Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: “When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall dispossess (ירש) all the residents of the land from before you andRead More

#341. Do the Israelites conquer Transjordan OR not? (Num 21:21-35; Deut 2:24-3:11 vs Num 33:45-49)

Tranjordanian Conquest

When compared to the earlier itineraries of Numbers 20-21 and Deuteronomy 1-3, the itinerary of Numbers 33 bears witness to a number of discrepancies and contradictions after the Israelites leave mount Hor at the end of the 5th month of the final and last 40th year of the wilderness period (Num 33:39). Many of these contradictions have already been discussed:  While Numbers 33:40 (P) merely notes that the Canaanite king of Arad heard of the Israelites’ coming, the duplicate Hormah tradition now atRead More

#339. Where did Aaron die: Hor OR Moserah? (Num 33:38 vs Deut 10:6)
#340. When did Aaron die: in the 40th year of the wilderness period OR much earlier? (Num 33:38 vs Deut 10:6-7)

After the Israelites arrive at Kadesh for the first and only time according to the itinerary of Numbers 33 (but see contradictions #332-334), they quickly move to mount Hor at the edge of the land of Edom, where it is stated: Aaron died there in the 40th year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the 5th month, on the 1st day of the month. (Num 33:38) Similarly, Aaron’s death at Hor on the 40th year wasRead More

Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

WIPFSTOCK_Template

ON SALE NOW! “DiMattei’s book is a refreshing call both for biblical literacy and for intellectual honesty in dealing with the Bible.” —John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School. “In an important contribution to the discussion between mainstream biblical studies and creation ‘science,’ DiMattei does a wonderful job of explicating the first two chapters of Genesis.  He shows convincingly that although Creationists claim to read this story literally, they are not reading it carefully at all.”Read More