Does the Bible Condone Contraception and Abortion? A Critical Look at the Evidence

An article written by Elissa Strauss for Salon in January, 2014, has been making the rounds again. I remember it at the time (I didn’t have a blog then), and wanted to address it. It presumes to tackle supposed biblical prohibitions of contraception and abortion by demonstrating the opposite, that the Bible actually portrays women using contraceptives and even abortion! Shock and horror! Yet, thankfully, the article is but ideologically motivated sophistry…

Martyrdom and Takfirism: Conflicting Christian Witnesses

In the wake of the martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS, there have been two recent examples of a phenomenon that has been called a type of Christian takfirism. For those unfamiliar with the term, the Arabic word takfiri refers to a person of a faith (usually Muslim) who accuses another person of the same faith of being a heretic or infidel. While this phenomenon has been pronounced in Islam forming…

A Call for Discretion when offering Spiritual Advice for Clinical Depression

Pardon this “off topic” post, but I feel a need to address this issue. This post has been making the rounds, though it is an article written in 2013. It attempts to offer St. Silouan’s aphorism “Keep your mind in hell, but don’t despair” as a “cure” for depression. This is at first glance quite insensitive to those who struggle with depression, as if a “cure” could be so easily offered on a…

Understanding Violence in the Old Testament Part I: Prisoners of War and Forced Marriage

  Thank you all for your responses to my reader and content survey. I am culling through them, and the responses are great! I will now immediately follow some of your suggestions and deal here with a topic regarding violence and perceived unethical behavior in the Bible, which was prompted by a Facebook post of Metropolitan Savvas (Zembillas) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh. In it, we are going to do something…

Reader and Content Survey

My Valued Readers, I would greatly appreciate it if you would fill out this quick survey so that I may better accommodate my audience. If you have a specific subject or issue that you would like me to address on the blog, this is your chance to suggest it! If I think it is a viable suggestion, I will try to devote a post to it.  Thanks so much for your continued…

Sorting through St. Paul’s Teaching on Justification

Over at Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, I have competed three posts discussing the ins-and-outs of justification in the writings of Paul and James. Part III sums up what, in my mind, is the real essence of St. Paul’s Gospel. Part I Part II Part III 

Was Jesus “Down” with Marriage? A Response to Candida Moss

  While I don’t aim to get into the marriage equality debate here, I do want to address this article by the controversial, though well-respected Notre Dame biblical scholar Candida Moss. Moss is a generally well-regarded public voice for scholarship, coming from a liberal Catholic perspective, and while I generally enjoy her articles at CNN.com and the Daily Beast, I find the present article a bit troubling. In an article entitled “Jesus Christ…

Welcoming Two New Blogs

I would like to welcome Professor Edith M. Humphrey to the Ancient Faith Blogs family with her blog A Lamp for Today. She is a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the author of several books. It is very exciting to see another Ancient Faith blog devoted to biblical studies, so, if you have enjoyed the content here at Departing Horeb, I’m sure you will enjoy Prof. Humphrey’s content…

A First-Century Fragment of the Gospel of Mark?

Recent headlines have appeared with the tantalizing news that a manuscript fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found to date to the first century, just a few decades from its original composition. News sites have run with the story, even Orthodox sites. But, before we begin celebrating what could be a monumental find for New Testament manuscript studies, we should examine the case a bit more closely to determine whether or…

Understanding Violence in the Old Testament: Critical and Patristic Perspectives

One of the thorniest issues that people deal with when trying to understand the Bible is what to make of the brutal violence depicted in the Old Testament. A recent interview of Paul Copan, author of the book Did God Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms With the Justice of God, reveals just how difficult in may be to come up with satisfying answers. Questions and answers search for any kind of…