27 September 2010

Sep 27

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today's reading explores the normal themes of Second Isaiah: God is universal in power but not in favor. The author emphasizes punishment and redemption of the Israelites. All others exist relative to the Israelites and every other country's fate is relative to the fate of Jerusalem.

This is followed by one of the "suffering servant" poems. This one will sound familiar to anyone familiar with the Christian mythos because the authors of the Christian gospels borrowed heavily from its imagery. This passage is unique amongst passages that could be read as messianic in that it implies that redemption can come through suffering. Obviously, such a theme would be important to those whose leader had died a shameful death.

New Testament

Exciting! The author of Ephesians uses a phrase that seems to be meant to invoke sacrifice in the Israelite Temple:
[he] offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Then we have a bit about being moral. In the midst of the moral advice, we have this interesting little bit:
This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
The phrase "That is why it is said" points to some tradition that dates from before this letter. Was it an oral tradition? Or is it from some piece of writing that was considered to be scripture by the author of Ephesians but has since been lost?

After that, we get the famous passage about the relationship between husbands and wives. I think the whole thing is bunk, and, as a non-Christian, I don't need to bother with it beyond that. Sometimes it's great being an evil atheist who does not take the Bible seriously.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note.