I dipped back into Blogging the Bible again this morning. New readers need to know that David Plotz, a journalist from Slate Magazine in the States is reading the Bible from the beginning and blogging his thoughts as he thinks them. He is trying not to allow himself to be influenced by commentators or what he already knows from elsewhere.
It is fascinating. Currently he is working through Leviticus noting the Bible's views of slavery, sexual offences and jubilee, amongst many interesting observations. Dip in.
One of the things that strikes me is that in the early books of the Old Testament we are reading about societies and cultures moving from Stone Age to Bronze Age. Plotz occasionally falls into the trap of suggesting how outrageous God's laws and decrees are as if they are designed to be ready-to-use in the developed world in 2006.
But it is a great and fascinating project and I hope he completes it. I want to see how he reacts to the New Tesatment and what light it sheds, for him, on the living world of the Old Testament. It is good to allow the words of the text to shock us for what they meant to them then. But we cannot read one bit of the Bible without our understanding being informed by the rest of it if we want to find out what it means for us now.