Archive for June 5th, 2012

Last week the Huffington Post’s religion blog featured an excellent article by Esther J. Hamori, a professor at Union Theological Seminary exploring the ways that social context mattered when biblical authors discussed marriage. My favorite part of individuals using bible verses to argue against same sex marriage but conveniently ignoring the other things that the bible tells them not to do in various places. As Hamori explains:

Consider the admonition against women braiding their hair, and the prohibition against women teaching (in any capacity!), which are generally understood to be culturally specific (1 Timothy 2:9-12). The oft-cited statement that a church overseer should be “the husband of one wife” comes three verses after these other culturally bound instructions (1 Timothy 3:1-2).

She concludes:

While the traditional view is that the Bible sets standards, and cultures either follow these standards or don’t, the Bible itself shows us that cultural norms and biblical positions shifted in tandem. This does not mean that anything goes; it’s simply what we see in the biblical texts themselves. It does not mean that there are no standards; there were always incest taboos, for example, but what counts as incest is culturally dictated, and our society does not embrace many biblical perspectives on this (e.g., the ideal of marrying one’s first cousin). It does not mean that God is a pushover; it shows, if anything, a God who will engage people in the world in which they live.

If only humans were so willing!

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