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The Savage Text: The Use and Abuse of the Bible

The Savage Text: The Use and Abuse of the Bible

Adrian Thatcher

ISBN: 978-1-444-30269-1

Feb 2009, Wiley-Blackwell

232 pages

Description

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

Acknowledgments ix

Part I What Is “The Savage Text”? 1

1 The “Savage Text”? 3

The Bible as an Idol? 3

The Manifesto of “The Savage Text” 9

The Argument of the Book 12

2 “Vile Affections”: The Bible and Homosexuality 15

Morality or Ideology? 15

A Guidebook for Sexual Behavior? 24

A Man Needs a Woman? 28

When is Exegesis Homophobic? 34

Part II The Savage Text at Work 37

3 “Cursed Be Canaan!”: The Bible, Racism, and Slavery 39

The Bible and Racism 39

The Bible and Slavery 47

Reading the Bible after Slavery 50

4 “The Great Day of Wrath”:The Bible and the End 57

“Man of War” or “Prince of Peace”? 58

“Rapture” or Rupture? 64

5 “Take Now Thy Son”: The Bible and Children 78

Jesus and Children 78

Putting Jesus First 93

6 “Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”:The Bible, Jews, and Women 95

The Bible and Anti-Semitism 96

The Bible and Misogyny 100

Learning from the Legacy? 106

Part III Beyond the Text: Faith in the Triune God 111

7 Faith in the Book or Faith in God? 113

The Scripture Principle 114

Hooker and the Middle Way 124

“Lost Christianities” and New “Heresies” 132

8 On Not Being a “People of the Book” 137

The Personalization of the Book 138

“Dis-solving” the Problem of Authority 145

Some Principles for a Peaceful Reading of the Bible 152

Conclusion 167

Glossary 170

Notes 180

Bibliography 197

Index of Scriptural Citations 206

General Index 212


  • 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