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The Savage Text: The Use and Abuse of the Bible

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7016-1
232 pages
October 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
The Savage Text: The Use and Abuse of the Bible (1405170166) cover image
Misuse of the Bible has made hatred holy. In this provocative book, Adrian Thatcher argues that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible. Fascinating reading for anyone concerned about the future of Christianity.
  • A provocative book claiming that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible
  • Argues that the Bible has been abused to convert the “good news” which it brings to the world, into one which has been used to discriminate against many groups, including children, women, Jews, people of color, slaves, heretics, and homosexuals
  • Asks how Christians have been able to conduct, in public and on a global scale, an argument that has exposed so much prejudice, fear and hatred
  • Offers an alternative, faithful and peaceable reading of the Bible, drawing on numerous examples throughout
  • Breaks new ground in debates about sexual ethics and biblical interpretation
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Acknowledgments.

Part I: What Is “The Savage Text”?

1. The “Savage Text”?

The Bible as an Idol?

The Manifesto of “The Savage Text”

The Argument of the Book.

2. “Vile Affections”: The Bible and Homosexuality.

Morality or Ideology?

A Guidebook for Sexual Behavior?

A Man Needs a Woman?

When is Exegesis Homophobic?

Part II: The Savage Text at Work.

3. “Cursed by Canaan!”: The Bible, Racism, and Slavery.

The Bible and Racism.

The Bible and Slavery.

Reading the Bible after Slavery.

4. “The Great Day of Wrath”: The Bible and the End.

“Man of War” or “Prince of Peace”?

“Rapture” or Rupture?

Great Tribulation or American Tribalism?

5. “Take Now Thy Son”: The Bible and Children.

Jesus and Children.

Putting Jesus First.

6. “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”: The Bible, Jews, and Women.

The Bible and Anti-Semitism.

The Bible and Misogyny.

Learning from the Legacy?

Part III: Beyond the Text: Faith in the Triune God.

7. Faith in the Book or Faith in God?

The Scripture Principle.

Hooker and the Middle Way.

“Lost Christianities” and New “Heresies”

8. On Not Being a “People of the Book”

The Personalization of the Book.

“Dis-solving” the Problem of Authority.

Some Principles for a Peaceful Reading of the Bible.

Conclusion.

Glossary.

Bibliography.

Index of Scriptural Citations.

General Index.

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Adrian Thatcher is Professorial Research Fellow in Applied Theology at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of numerous books, including: Theology and Families (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007); The Guide to Christian Marriage and to Getting Married in Church (2003); Living Together and Christian Ethics (2002); Celebrating Christian Marriage (ed., 2001); Marriage after Modernity: Christian Marriage in Postmodern Times (1999); People of Passion (with Elizabeth Stuart, 1997); Liberating Sex: A Christian Sexual Theology (1993); and Truly a Person, Truly God (1990).
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  • A provocative book claiming that debates on sexuality currently raging through the churches are the latest outbreak in a long line of savage interpretations of the Bible
  • Argues that the Bible has been abused to convert the “good news” which it brings to the world, into one which has been used to discriminate against many groups, including children, women, Jews, people of color, slaves, heretics, and homosexuals
  • Asks how Christians have been able to conduct, in public and on a global scale, an argument that has exposed so much prejudice, fear and hatred
  • Offers an alternative, faithful and peaceable reading of the Bible, drawing on numerous examples throughout
  • Breaks new ground in debates about sexual ethics and biblical interpretation
See More
"[The Savage Text] is certainly a valuable—and sane—addition to modern Biblical scholarship." (Tribunal, September 2009)

"I have asked conservative Evangelicals whether they are open to the possibility that there could be more than one responsible Christian interpretation of the biblical texts that relate to homosexuality. Adrian Thatcher, in this passionate book, goes much further." (Church Times, February 2009)

"A very readable book, Adrian Thatcher presents a well-argued, clear and persuasive case for a peaceable interpretation of Scripture. ... His book deserves to be widely read, not least by all involved in decision-making at whatever level on questions relating to human sexuality." (Methodist Recorder, February 2009)

"[Thatcher] approaches the biblical texts under discussion from a range of viewpoints, thereby paying attention to the particular historical context in which these texts originated. With a healthy sense of irony, he distances himself from the misuse of the Bible without rejecting the Bible as such, and therefore his excellent work can only be recommended to Christians of any denomination." (Journal for the Study of Marriage & Spirituality, 2009)

"A lively and very engaging text which will appeal to a very wide audience. Academically credible, while written for educated and informed Christians of all denominations … there is nothing quite like it in the contemporary theological market. The book has a standpoint which is clearly articulated and robustly defended."
Elizabeth Stuart, University of Winchester

"The great strength of the text is the thoroughness and the competence of the analysis presented. Thatcher is a master of the material and presents it in a way that is easily readable by all the projected audiences, including the educated general reader. The presentation is also excellent."
Michael Lawler, Creighton University

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