Apple has just released Mac OS X 10.7.3 which normally wouldn’t warrant a mention here except that it includes improved Hebrew support. Apple’s update notes include the following:
Add Catalan, Croatian, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian, Slovak, Thai, and Ukrainian language support.
Of course it would be nice if they told us exactly what this means for Apple’s apps and Hebrew, but any improvement in Hebrew support is greatly appreciated!
For previous parts of this series, see:
The supposition that individual sin lies behind suffering pervades a great deal of both biblical (e.g. Ezek 18) and extra-biblical thought. More often than not, however, the biblical material reflects upon the inadequacy of individual sin as a viable explanation for one’s sufferings. The prime example is Job: his friends assume that his suffering is related to some transgresssion and encourage him to confess and seek forgiveness from God, but the prologue is at pains to point(!) out that, whatever the real reason is, individual sin is certainly not the reason for his suffering.
During a recent online debate the question of the meaning of Deut 32:8–9 was raised as evidence of the Bible’s affirmation of polytheism and the subordinate status of the God of Israel, Yhwh. The essence of the claim is that the version of this passage preserved in the DSS identifies El Elyon as head of a pantheon who assigns nations to various subordinate deities, and Israel is assigned to Yhwh in this process.
The argument rests upon the alternate reading found in a fragment from cave 4 at Qumran (4Q37 or 4QDeutj).1 This fragment only preserves a few words from these verses.
The most obvious place to start when discussing suffering is with sin. The opening chapters of the Bible (Gen 2–3) are an aetiological tale which functions to describe the original state of the world and explain why it is no longer in that original state.
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Some time ago I heard a sermon entitled “How could a good God allow suffering?” There’s not much that can be covered in the brief time allocated to a sermon, but while (or perhaps “instead of”) listening I set about thinking of reasons offered in the Bible for suffering. This introductory post is simply to list those I could think of before (hopefully) examining each one in more detail. So here are reasons which came to mind:
- Human sin in general (e.g. Gen 3; Rom 1; 8:22);
- Individual sin (numerous places, particularly in the OT);
- Character building (Rom 5);
- Discipline (Heb 12);
- Preventative (Job 33);
- Glorification of God (e.g. John 9:2–3);
- “Completing” Christ’s afflictions (Col 1:24);
- Persecution (2Tim 3:12);
- Escaping evil (Isa 57:1–2)1;
- Mystery (Job).
If you can think of other reasons offered for suffering by the Bible, I’m happy to expand on this list.
A couple of brief introductory comments are warranted. First, the items on the list are not all mutually exclusive. Second, aside from (1) and perhaps (3) and (6), it is not really possible to be sure these apply to any specific situation without direct divine revelation (and, conversely, it is not always possible to be sure these do not apply).
- This isn’t really an explanation for suffering, at least for those “taken away,” but those left behind would suffer loss.
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Opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity occasionally throw up the assertion that the word ‘Trinity’ never appears in the Bible as a supposed problem for the doctrine.
The objection is, however, largely without merit. Read below the link for an assessment of this contention!
This looks like it’ll be a fantastic resource: the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum. Still many more manuscripts to go, but a fantastic start, and just in time for the Dead Sea Scrolls Conference in Memory of Emeritus Professor Alan Crown to be held in about one month’s time.
H/T Jim West.
On a recent Q&A one of the viewers asked about God’s silence:
My question is: why has God gone so quiet? Just a few thousand years ago he appeared to people quite regularly. He turned rivers to blood, he parted seas, he flooded the world etc. He provided us with people like Moses, Jesus & Mohammed who had direct lines of communication. These days the only time you hear from God is through TV evangelists. You know, it’s almost as though the more educated we get, the less God wants to do with us. So, why has God gone so quiet?
John Lennox suggested that the problem was not that God was silent, it was that we aren’t listening. Now, of course, there’s something to this, but it got me thinking about Elijah’s encounter with Yhwh in 1Kings 19 again. It is a fascinating passage and the source of the “still, small voice” which prompted generations of preachers to proclaim that God’s preferred mode of communication was this mysterious whisper.1
They were, however, wrong. Read on for more…
There’s a new app for iOS called “Biblical Audio Pronunciations” (also available in “Lite” version) which aims to offer “correct” pronunciation of biblical terms. The web page claims:
We carefully researched and recorded the pronunciations of important terms, names, and places, to help you embrace the Word of God more easily.
Does it live up to its claims?
I must admit I do not understand the publishing world. Aside from the astronomical prices for books from some publishing houses, there are some even more perplexing pricing models out there. Today I followed a link to a four page book review in Dead Sea Discoveries which took me to ingentaconnect where I can purchase this review for a “mere” $35.00.
By way of contrast, I can buy the entire book which was reviewed — Fitzmeyer’s 248 page A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Why Do They Matter? The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Short History, for around $20.00 (including delivery) from a number of major book sellers.
Now Robert Holmstedt is an excellent scholar, but I have to draw the line at paying more for a short review than for the entire book under review! It is difficult to see how organisations like ingentaconnect are serving the scholarly community.