First, James Crossley calls for biblical scholars of the world to unite. In the wake of economic woes, one must wonder what the future holds for universities with biblical studies programs. According to Crossley, biblical studies belongs at the heart of the humanities and must be engaged if we are to understand human beings. John Hobbins agrees, as does Jim West (a.k.a. Zwingli Redivivus). I, too, find Crossley compelling. Our increasingly secular society does not fully dis-engage with the Bible is because it is rooted in our culture, something even Richard Dawkins is willing to recognize, though Chris Heard aptly remarks that we must not look at this solely from a secular perspective.
Second, 13.7 asks if technology has rendered our society suicidal, if the petroleum steroids that fuel our societal growth have developed muscles the collective wisdom of our society is not capable of controlling. The ancient Israelites understood that wisdom was fundamental to the warp and woof of the cosmos (e.g. Pro 8:22-31). As a biblical studies companion to the secular ecological movements emerging in our culture, pastors, theologians, and lay Christians alike should consider what an eco-oriented hermeneutical perspective has to offer. Those who study the Bible have a unique opportunity to explore how ancient, pre-scientific people developed and fostered a worldview that sought to maintain the harmony between the divine, the people, and the land. This is the wisdom our own society today lacks, and we should take seriously our opportunity to speak out on the subject.
Third, Yann Martel, author of the very popular Life of Pi has written another book. The NPR reviewer is not as enthused about this new book. I hope the reviewer is wrong, but having read some other of his work previous to Life of Pi, I am aware that Martel’s pen is not infallible. If you haven’t read Life of Pi, then you should. Bob Cargill writes of 50 cultural references one should know to understand him. Life of Pi should be on every theologian’s need-to-know-to-know-me cultural reference list. Here is a blip from an old NPR interview of Yann Martel:
I think unfortunately religion is plagued by fundamentalists. Now, every good idea can be kidnapped, and I found in my own research that most people tend to know about religion only what they need to know to dismiss it, and so they will be aware only of the scandals. They’re not aware of the people who go to church who are not hypocrites, who are not homicidal fanatics. You know there are about a billion Muslims, that doesn’t mean there’s about a billion fanatics who at the least provocation will chop your head off.