Real Bible Studies: The Book of Daniel

Daniel begins with Jerusalem being sacked by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and the prominent families taken off into exile. The narrative states that Daniel entered service to the Babylonian king at the beginning of the exile, which happened between 597-586 BCE, and that he remained in royal service until Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: The Book of Daniel

Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Isaac

Isaac is almost a footnote in the history of Israel. He's born; he's almost sacrificed by his father; he marries Rebekah; he buries Abraham; he fathers Esau and Jacob; he almost gives Rebekah to Abimelek; he's tricked into giving away Esau's blessing to Jacob; then he reconciles with Jacob and dies, all in the span … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Isaac

Real Bible Studies: Genesis, The Birth of Isaac

Throughout the book of Genesis, YHWH has been telling Abraham that his descendants will one day possess the land of Canaan, which usually meets with skepticism from Abraham. His sometimes sister, sometimes wife, Sarah, is barren and said to be well beyond the age when women could produce children. YHWH has gone so far as … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, The Birth of Isaac

Biological Imperative 

   In Genesis, the first humans are instructed to be fruitful and multiply. Given that the human population now exceeds seven billion individuals, one could assume humans took that instruction to heart. Along the way, the transition from hunter gathers, where the population was constantly on the move, to an agrarian society where everyone stays … Continue reading Biological Imperative 

Creation Myths

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So begins the first creation narrative in Genesis, chapter one. This narrative, which among other things states that water existed on earth before there was light, encompasses the creation of all living things, including humans. The story is directly contradicted by the following chapter of … Continue reading Creation Myths

Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Abraham and Abimelek 

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the bible is pretty much done with Lot and his nameless daughters, until their descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites start hassling the tribes of Israel many generations later. One wonders why Lot didn't just drop in on his uncle, given the special relationship Abraham seems to have with … Continue reading Real Bible Studies: Genesis, Abraham and Abimelek 

Myths and Myth Making in Hamlet

Note: This article has been updated and expanded in my essay collection The Cheese Toast Project, available in print from online bookstores, and in print and Kindle at Amazon. Laurence Olivier once referred to Hamlet as the story of a man who can't make up his mind. While there are elements of indecisiveness in Hamlet's … Continue reading Myths and Myth Making in Hamlet