The Savage TextThe Use and Abuse of the Bible
Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos 1. Aufl.
Misuse of the Bible has made hatred holy. In this provocative book, Adrian Thatcher argues that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible. Fascinating reading for anyone concerned about the future of Christianity. A provocative book claiming that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible Argues that the Bible has been abused to convert the “good news” which it brings to the world, into one which has been used to discriminate against many groups, including children, women, Jews, people of color, slaves, heretics, and homosexuals Asks how Christians have been able to conduct, in public and on a global scale, an argument that has exposed so much prejudice, fear and hatred Offers an alternative, faithful and peaceable reading of the Bible, drawing on numerous examples throughout Breaks new ground in debates about sexual ethics and biblical interpretation
Acknowledgments ix Part I What Is “The Savage Text”? 1 1 The “Savage Text”? 3 The Bible as an Idol? 3 The Manifesto of “The Savage Text” 9 The Argument of the Book 12 2 “Vile Affections”: The Bible and Homosexuality 15 Morality or Ideology? 15 A Guidebook for Sexual Behavior? 24 A Man Needs a Woman? 28 When is Exegesis Homophobic? 34 Part II The Savage Text at Work 37 3 “Cursed Be Canaan!”: The Bible, Racism, and Slavery 39 The Bible and Racism 39 The Bible and Slavery 47 Reading the Bible after Slavery 50 4 “The Great Day of Wrath”:The Bible and the End 57 “Man of War” or “Prince of Peace”? 58 “Rapture” or Rupture? 64 5 “Take Now Thy Son”: The Bible and Children 78 Jesus and Children 78 Putting Jesus First 93 6 “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”:The Bible, Jews, and Women 95 The Bible and Anti-Semitism 96 The Bible and Misogyny 100 Learning from the Legacy? 106 Part III Beyond the Text: Faith in the Triune God 111 7 Faith in the Book or Faith in God? 113 The Scripture Principle 114 Hooker and the Middle Way 124 “Lost Christianities” and New “Heresies” 132 8 On Not Being a “People of the Book” 137 The Personalization of the Book 138 “Dis-solving” the Problem of Authority 145 Some Principles for a Peaceful Reading of the Bible 152 Conclusion 167 Glossary 170 Notes 180 Bibliography 197 Index of Scriptural Citations 206 General Index 212
"[The Savage Text] is certainly a valuable—and sane—addition to modern Biblical scholarship." (Tribunal, September 2009) "I have asked conservative Evangelicals whether they are open to the possibility that there could be more than one responsible Christian interpretation of the biblical texts that relate to homosexuality. Adrian Thatcher, in this passionate book, goes much further." (Church Times, February 2009) "A very readable book, Adrian Thatcher presents a well-argued, clear and persuasive case for a peaceable interpretation of Scripture. ... His book deserves to be widely read, not least by all involved in decision-making at whatever level on questions relating to human sexuality." (Methodist Recorder, February 2009) "[Thatcher] approaches the biblical texts under discussion from a range of viewpoints, thereby paying attention to the particular historical context in which these texts originated. With a healthy sense of irony, he distances himself from the misuse of the Bible without rejecting the Bible as such, and therefore his excellent work can only be recommended to Christians of any denomination." (Journal for the Study of Marriage & Spirituality, 2009)
Adrian Thatcher is Professorial Research Fellow in Applied Theology at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of numerous books, including: Theology and Families (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007); The Guide to Christian Marriage and to Getting Married in Church (2003); Living Together and Christian Ethics (2002); Celebrating Christian Marriage (ed., 2001); Marriage after Modernity: Christian Marriage in Postmodern Times (1999); People of Passion (with Elizabeth Stuart, 1997); Liberating Sex: A Christian Sexual Theology (1993); and Truly a Person, Truly God (1990).
Misuse of the Bible has made hatred holy. In this provocative book, Adrian Thatcher argues that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible. He claims they should be exposed, not least because they continue an anti-tradition in Christianity that has discriminated against many minorities, including people of color, slaves, women and children. He asks how Christians have been able to conduct, in public and on a global scale, arguments which have exposed so much hatred and misrepresentation that the very mission of the church has been severely compromised. The answer lies largely in particular attitudes towards the Bible and the misuse of biblical passages. Informed by wide-ranging debate, and drawing on numerous examples, this balanced book breaks new ground in the well-ploughed territories of sexual ethics and biblical interpretation. It unmasks this savage tradition and offers instead an alternative, faithful and peaceable reading of the Bible; one which is faithful to the Triune God and rooted in the early church. It is fascinating reading for anyone concerned about the future of Christianity.
"A lively and very engaging text which will appeal to a very wide audience. Academically credible, while written for educated and informed Christians of all denominations … there is nothing quite like it in the contemporary theological market. The book has a standpoint which is clearly articulated and robustly defended." –Elizabeth Stuart, University of Winchester "The great strength of the text is the thoroughness and the competence of the analysis presented. Thatcher is a master of the material and presents it in a way that is easily readable by all the projected audiences, including the educated general reader. The presentation is also excellent." –Michael Lawler, Creighton University
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