Back in January I decided that my resolution would be to read the entirety of the Bible. Wait? Did you hear that correctly? Yes. The entirety. I wasn’t convinced I had read all of the minor prophets let alone all of Isaiah and there was a nagging suspicion that I never really did finish Hebrews. So I grabbed a Bible app and clicked about until I found a New Testament in 40 days reading plan. I figured I had read most of the New Testament and it would be a decent litmus test for my perseverance.
So I read the New Testament in 40ish days. Why the ish? Well we’ll get to that when I review the app. Why the delay in writing about it if I finished back in February? It’s called working tens. It is an evil shift that I despise because you are so exhausted that even if you live close to your jobsite you are not eating until 6:30/7:00 at night and you go to bed at 9 or so because if you don’t you will suffer from sleep deprivation and fall off a ladder.
My goal was not to be enlightened. My goal was not to increase my Spirituality or Holiness quotient. My goal was to read the New Testament. I sucked it in. I did not pause to contemplate much of what I was reading and I acknowledge that for some such an admission is sacrilege; however, as I’m a heretical Anglican with delusions of accepting that other religions have just as much right to exist as mine I’m bound for hell anyways so I don’t really care. I wanted to read the New Testament.
My thoughts in bullet point form:
- There is a clear separation between the Pauline and deutero-Pauline books. I totally agree that they are not all written by the same person or group of people. Remember that not caring bit from before? Totally continues along here my single author friends.
- The ending of Hebrews is a total add-on by a scribe. My first impressions are that it was written for a post-diaspora audience that was not super educated about their own faith background. I’m still undecided about whether the intended audience was Jewish. I need slower look for that decision.
- James? I do think it was his brother but I’m not convinced that the church of Jerusalem was completely free of the “Pauline style” Messiah as spiritual saviour. There is a lack of dying for sins in the book but there is a waiting for a messianic return mentioned. If Hebrews was written a Jewish intended audience from the Jamesian school of theology (I don’t know the proper terms off the top of my head so academics can climb in the not caring bus with the fundamentalists here — try to keep the blood of the seats) then the shift was indeed happening, especially after the diaspora.
- With that last bullet point in mind, I’m still not convinced by the Jesus as solely political figure theory. I do have a bias towards my religion and I see no evidence from the text that can pull me away from the idea that there is something to the whole religious saviour thing. I recognize that there is far more of a Jesus really didn’t intent to create a new religion thing going on but I’m already in deep heretical waters as it is so I’ll avoid jumping into the how much divine knowledge did he have debate just now thank you very much.
- I agree with those who say that whoever allowed the Book of Revelations to be canon deserves a smack upside the head (I’m looking at you Jerome).
No I have no real plans to tackle the Old Testament, yet. I have a JPS version on the desk but I really don’t feel like going through Leviticus. Again. I swear it kills any and all momentum I pick up from the first two books. I might keep to the plan of reading the various sub-sections. Maybe I’ll start with the histories.
I should also mention I’m still on the fence as to whether I should call them the Old and New or Jewish and Christian. Forgive me if I do not remain consistent with my methodology.