Last autumn I launched a new beginning, writing for the Deseret News. My first article was entitled, Autumn and New Beginnings. This is a perfect time of year to start anew.
My warnings to apocalyptic Jews and Christians holds true for apocalyptic Muslims as well. Relevant reading for today’s crises in the Middle East “Ancient Israelite Zion Theology, Judeo-Christian Apocalypticism, and Biblical (Mis)interpretation: Potential Implications for the Stability of the Modern Middle East” (by Taylor Halverson, 2011).
My scripture studies article “Between the Testaments: An Invitation to Explore the Intertestamental Time Period.” Quote from the opening paragraph:
“Have you ever turned the page from the last words of Malachi to the first utterances of Matthew? Go ahead. Turn that one page. What do you see? Exactly. Nothing.
“Was the world silent between Malachi and Matthew? Indeed it was not. But just how much time had passed between the two Testaments? What happened in the eastern Mediterranean world during that time? Did anything happen at all? Could ideas, beliefs and practices significantly change between the Testaments?
“Consider the following: Would we feel historically, ideologically and politically disoriented if our knowledge of Western history stopped in the year 1492 , skipped five hundred years, and then resumed again in the year 1992 ? Such a thought is absurd. No one could have a complete understanding of the modern world that we live in by skipping such a vast stretch of time which has seen enormous changes in so many aspects of life.
Yet, that is exactly what happens when we turn from the last page of Malachi to the first page of Matthew. Some five hundred years span the distance between these two Biblical writers, but we seem not to worry that the political, religious and ideological worlds that these two writers came from were in many ways radically different from each other. Indeed, when we comprehend the flux of change in the eastern Mediterranean world over the course of five hundred years, our understanding of the New Testament will be enlarged as wide as the chasm that now marks the apparent emptiness between the Testaments.”
My scripture studies article “Who Were the Samaritans?” Quote from the opening paragraphs:
“There once was an ancient temple society, led by hereditary high priests from the lineage of Levi who taught and transmitted the sacred words of God as preserved in the Torah (the five books of Moses). Each year at Passover the community gathered in a solemn assembly to perform the rituals on the Paschal Lamb in remembrance that God had saved them from bondage. And through the years this community worshiped God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. Yet this group was vilified and marginalized over the centuries, their beliefs mocked, their people scapegoated and eventually their holy temple destroyed by outside forces. Presently their numbers have dwindled to some 4000 active adherents.
But wait, are there not more than 4000 faithful Jews today? Yes, indeed! But we are not talking about the Jews, we are talking about the Samaritans! If we look closely, we discover that the Samaritans carry all of the important identifying features that would lead us to believe that they are faithful Israelites.”
There is a long history of apocalyptic fervor in the Judeo-Christian tradition. These notions often gain intensity during moments of social or political strife. However, the peace and security some theological notions offer, if misinterpreted or misapplied, may potentially help precipitate crises and conflicts that upset the stability of civilized society. This paper will explore a case from ancient Israel where the misinterpretation of an ancient theological notional may have contributed to the fall of Jerusalem. Then this paper will consider the role that modern Biblical (mis)readings and (mis)interpretations have upon Judeo–Christian apocalyptic thought as a contributor to social unrest and conflicts in volatile regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East.
We live in era of great diversity of cultures, ideas, religions, and viewpoints. Thoughtfully understanding one another is necessary for the flourishing of humanity and human cultures. Article published in Comparative Civilizations Review. “Ancient Israelite Zion Theology, Judeo-Christian Apocalypticism, and Biblical (Mis)interpretation: Potential Implications for the Stability of the Modern Middle East.”
This blog post from the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) explores a variety of options for who constituted the Qumran community. Rethinking the “Qumran Community”: Recent Approaches