The Bible And Christianity - The Historical Origins A rational, secular, historical perspective on the history of Christianity and its scripture An essay by Scott Bidstrup "If the truth is that ugly -- which it is -- then we do have to be careful about the way that we tell the truth. But to somehow say that telling the truth should be avoided because people may respond badly to the truth seems bizarre to me. To others, the Bible is a historical document and a source of controversy.
Johns, Justice and Peace Shall Embrace: Power and Theo-Politics in the Bible: Cascadia Publishing House,] When I was a doctoral student in the mids, I had the privilege of taking a year-long seminar on justice from Professor Karen Lebacqz of Pacific School of Religion.
At the time, Lebacqz was in the process of writing a two-volume theological study on justice. I was uneasy with both points of view, and I saw them having many problems in common—things that were particularly troubling to me in light of my own faith commitments.
They both share certain assumptions or faith commitments that are problematic. I will mention a few, in general terms, not so much in an attempt to criticize them significantly, but more as a means of expressing part of my immediate motivation in seeing if an alternative might be constructed.
Briefly, these assumptions The prophet amos essay more true of one than the other, but largely applicable to both include: Out of my unease with this general approach to justice, I decided to look at the Bible to see if it might contain something that might provide help in formulating an alternative approach.
I wrote a letter to my seminary Old Testament professor, Millard Lind of the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, asking if he had any help to offer.
From Moses to Jesus. A pacifist theory of justice that would serve as an alternative to the problematic approaches mentioned above continues to be an urgent need.
One of my main arguments, following Lind, is that the Old Testament is a crucial resource for such a resource. In this paper, I will focus on one Old Testament text that speaks of justice in particular, the Book of Amos.
My assumption which I cannot do more than assert here is that Amos is a representative text.
What we find in Amos concerning justice we also find elsewhere in the Bible. The main superpower of the day, Assyria, was not much of a factor internationally at least temporarily, it turned out due to its internal problems, nor was anyone else. However, all was not well—which is why Amos came from Tekoa in the south to prophesy.
Israel was at the end of a social transformation. Israel had originally been a fairly egalitarian society. A key aspect of this land reform was the inheritance system. This served not as a means of keeping control in the hands of a rich elite but instead as a means whereby the peasantry themselves controlled their own resources.
Foundational to this system was the belief that ultimately Yahweh was the lord of the land and holder of eminent domain.
This system was democratically run and had as one of its main concerns the helping of the weaker members of the society who otherwise were without power and influence. Without the justice of the court they would not be able to maintain themselves in the social order.
God had established their nation in his gracious love and desired the people to live in communion with him and with one another. The covenant community was accountable to God—if it did not maintain its faithfulness, it was liable to be judged cf.
Amos came onto the scene to announce that this threat of judgment was indeed about to be carried out. The social transformation of Israel was a decisive move away from covenant faithfulness.
Of course, this was not the perception of those Amos was addressing. However, poverty and distress were widespread among the people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. One key aspect of that reality was the shift from the situation where control of the land was inherited to one where the control was in the hands of a few centralized owners.
These owners were exploiting the peasants for their own gain. This shift apparently resulted from the efforts of the powerful in the society. This process cut to the heart of the covenant-community concept, which paid special attention to those on the bottom of society and saw itself as based on the notion of a liberator-God.
This sets his listeners up for the punch line that begins in 2: In speaking against the nations, Amos would gain the sympathy of his listeners—who would all agree that, of course, the nations are terrible and unjust.
However, then beginning in 2: In particular in these verses, he focuses on transgressions against the harmonious ordering of Israelite communal life: He insists that privilege entails responsibility and that the unfaithful Israelites have been irresponsible. Therefore, they are even worse than the despised pagans who never knew God.
Amos preaches a transcendent ethic—God is not identified with Israel per se.
God is identified with justice and righteousness.The Prophet Amos. Call to Return. The first person under Jeroboam II to face the masses courageously and accuse them of their sins and predict harsh punishment was the prophet Hosea. Essays & Stories on the Holocaust. Judaism, Civilization & Progress.
Gallery of Our Great. This Week in . THE PROPHET HOSEA THERE are several points of interest in the person and work of Hosea. First, he was a prophet of the northern kingdom: we may say, the only prophet of the northern kingdom who has left any written. Throughout, the focus is on how to read the book of Amos holistically to understand the organic development of the prophet’s message through the many stages of .
Amos. borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12 miles south-east of Bethlehem. + free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day?
Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. Amos and Isaiah–Study Questions. Amos and Isaiah were contemporaries and they address the same problems. Both of them have the difficult task of bringing a message of judgment to people who are complacent in their sense of well-being and rightness before God.