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> trac ki n g s p i r i t u a l t r e n d s i n t h e 2 1s t ce n t u r y
VOLUME 17:43 ( 1,1 3 5 ) / D E C E M B E R 1 2 , 2 0 1 2
In this issue:
Israelites believed things that the writers of the Bible wanted them to forget”?
SCIENCE - “perverse incentives” driving a tenfold rise in academic fraud BIBLICAL RELIABILITY - “The ancient
prone to “ethical storms”?
WORD-FAITH MOVEMENT - more
Publisher: Apologia • www.apologia.org Contact: ar.feedback(at)apologia.org Post Office Box 7112 Pueblo, CO 81007 Phone: (719) 225-3467 Editor: Rich Poll Contributing Editor: Paul Carden
Copyright ©2012 by Apologia. All rights reserved. Apologia (the biblical Greek word for “defense”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Apologia’s mission is to equip the body of Christ for spiritual discernment by providing timely, accurate religious research information within the field of Christian apologetics and to advance apologetics in Christian missions. Apologia Report surveys widely to identify the most valuable resources for its readers as they encounter competing worldviews. Since 1997, AR has been published roughly 44 times each year via e-mail. The archiving of Apologia Report (in whole or in part) is permitted for the private use of its subscribers alone. This data file is the sole property of Apologia. It may not be used without the permission of Apologia for resale or the enhancement of any other product. In citations, please give the following source credit: “Copyright ©2012, Apologia (apologia.org)”
BIBLICAL RELIABILITY From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends, by Avigdor Shinan, Yair Zakovitch1 — the publisher tells us: “The ancient Israelites believed things that the writers of the Bible wanted them to forget: myths and legends from a pre-biblical world that the new monotheist order needed to bury, hide, or reinterpret. “Ancient Israel was rich in such literary traditions before the Bible reached the final form that we have today. These traditions were not lost but continued, passed down through the ages. Many managed to reach us in post-biblical sources: rabbinic literature, Jewish Hellenistic writings, the writings of the Dead Sea sect, the Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient translations of the Bible, and even outside the ancient Jewish world in Christian and Islamic texts. The Bible itself sometimes alludes to these traditions, often in surprising contexts. “Written in clear and accessible language, this volume presents thirty such traditions. It voyages behind the veil of the written Bible to reconstruct what was told and retold among the ancient Israelites, even if it is not what the Bible tells us.” <www.ow.ly/ fWfCS> Kirkus adds: “A meticulously researched primer on the Hebrew Bible’s role as part of an evolving theological and political discourse. Although the Bible is often read as if it exists in isolation, the import of its stories cannot be fully grasped without an understanding of the pre-biblical literature and traditions that held sway at the time of its creation. The transition from paganism to a monotheistic, recognizably Jewish belief system played out over centuries, and the biblical canon encompasses dozens of individual campaigns to reinforce, suppress or transform pagan views and philosophies that were common in the ancient Middle East. Biblical scholars Shinan and Zakovitch (both of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) argue that many passages can be read as miniature polemics aimed at reinterpreting pre-existing legends in order to make them more compatible with a monotheistic theology. In closely argued and densely
footnoted academic prose, the authors present 30 examples, from the reasons for eating matzah to the proper etiquette for relationships between men and women. In demonstrating how the Bible ‘actively argues against ancient traditions that were deemed unsuitable to the biblical writers for inclusion in their great work,’ Shinan and Zakovitch paint a richly nuanced portrait of the biblical literature as an interlocutor in the debates of its day, but their language may alienate nonspecialist readers. Many points rely on a close reading of the Hebrew and Aramaic texts as well a familiarity with multiple modes of exegesis, and although capably translated, the book can be occasionally bewildering to those without the requisite background. Not for general readers, but an illuminating, challenging look at the original significance of many of the Bible’s stories.” Kirkus, Nov ‘12 #2,3 SCIENCE “Misconduct Widespread in Retracted Science Papers, Study Finds” by Carl Zimmer — begins: “Last year the journal Nature reported an alarming increase in the number of retractions of scientific papers — a tenfold rise in the previous decade, to more than 300 a year across the scientific literature. <www.ow.ly/fZt3E> “In the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [<www.ow.ly/fZtc5>], two scientists and a medical communications consultant analyzed 2,047 retracted papers in the biomedical and life sciences. They found that misconduct was the reason for three-quarters of the retractions for which they could determine the cause. “‘We found that the problem was a lot worse than we thought,’ said an author of the study, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. “Dr. Casadevall and another author, Dr. Ferric C. Fang of the University of Washington, have been outspoken critics of the current culture of science. To them, the rising rate of retractions reflects perverse incentives that drive scientists to make
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SCIENCE (continued) sloppy mistakes or even knowingly publish false data.worldmag. 336 pages) <www.com> 4 . they might simply not have a theological framework by which to separate their faith in the message with their faith in the person. pp48-51) ran V O L U M E 1 7 : 4 3 ( 1. health and all-around success. Duke Divinity School — after a review of related history. ow.1 3 5 ) / D E C E M B E R 1 2 . their rapid increase is a sign of a winner-take-all culture in which getting a paper published in a major journal can be the difference between heading a lab and facing unemployment. .” New York Times.com> Apologia Report is available free of charge and sent to you once a week via email. .. 320 pages) <www. .word press. 2012.htm Search back issues at: www.Kirkus. World magazine (Sep 8 ‘12. Joel Osteen.World. Office hours are virtually nonexistent.ly/fWejg> Bowler’s new book. few seem as committed to secrecy as prosperity megachurches. Their biographies (always available at the church bookstore) are understood as spiritual revelations of how to put divine principles into action. Some pastors take this even further. Subscribe now to this valuable resource! To subscribe online. Joyce Meyer.retractionwatch. <www. <www. Suppressed. riffing from Psalm 105:15. “While the fraudulent papers may be relatively few. “But when rumors swirl about sexual impropriety.’” Allegations of a sexual abuse coverup are also discussed.tinyurl. Even longtime church members cannot expect to have a personal interaction with a beloved leader who they refer to affectionately as ‘The Bishop. 2 0 1 2 the related story “Sex. they curse opponents as doubters who speak against the Lord’s anointed.’ he said. alleging embezzlement and fraud. “‘I don’t think this problem is going to go away as long as you have this disproportionate system of rewards. n. n.ow. People who speak up run the risk of ostracization.ly/fWhde> See also: <www.p. fired Brittany Koper last fall.4 SOURCES: Monographs 1 ..p. May 2013.ow. Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. Lies & Television” by Warren Cole Smith who writes: “Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Bowler writes: “Though churches of all kinds weather ethical storms.. Oct 2 ‘12. or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends..2 is due in May. APOLOGIAreport “[P]rosperity megachurches breed a culture of cultivated distance.ly/fWfhR> SOURCES: PERIODICALs 3 . <www.com> WORD-FAITH MOVEMENT “Sexual Misconduct and the American Prosperity Gospel” by Kate Bowler.. <www. Further.ly/fWcHv> 2 .From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked. Why? The answer lies in part with the magnified role of the senior pastor.’ he said. [After she discovered] ‘the unlawful distribution of the TBN Companies’ charitable assets to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors. why don’t church members speak out? “The prosperity gospel’s emphasis on positive thinking and positive speech makes it difficult to raise critical issues from the inside.kirkusreviews. Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity. ‘Some fraction of people are starting to cheat. paperback..com/archive-apologia .ow. [Casadevall] went on. Oct 8 ‘12.” Huffington Post. Prosperity pastors exist as largerthan-life figures. Creflo Dollar and many others are living proof of their message that God does bless people with finances.org/htm/subscribe.’ Most believers seem to accept this distance as part of the price of following someone so important.’ ‘Brother So-and-So’ or sometimes ‘Daddy So-and-So. go to: http://apologia. by Avigdor Shinan and Yair Zakovitch (Jewish Pub Soc. hardcover. I have heard hundreds of sermons castigating ‘complainers’ as unspiritual.Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler (Oxford Univ Prs.
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