DiscoverThe Bible as Literature
The Bible as Literature

The Bible as Literature

Author: The Ephesus School

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Each week, Dr. Richard Benton, Fr. Marc Boulos and guests discuss the content of the Bible as literature. On Tuesdays, Fr. Paul Tarazi presents an in-depth analysis of the biblical text in the original languages.
406 Episodes
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It’s Not for Sale

It’s Not for Sale

2019-12-0500:21:34

We live in a society whose standard of value has created broken communities, a generational increase in mid-life suicides, and a steady supply of ideological violence. Yes. The love of money is indeed the root of all evils and we Americans are living proof. And please, no platitudes about how money is fine if you don’t love it. Show me someone who does not love money. Even the great hermits and stylites of old loved money—that’s why they chose to flee the world in the first place—to escape the madness we now embrace.Thanks be to God, the parables of the Kinging in Matthew set forth a new standard of value, one measured not by the acquisition of wealth—but of biblical wisdom. Praise the Lord in the heavens! Praise him in the heights, that this wisdom is definitely not marketable and not for sale. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:44-48. Episode 307 Matthew 13:44-48; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Cryptic Sorrow” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
The Noahic Covenant

The Noahic Covenant

2019-12-0300:19:20

This week, Fr. Paul discusses the significance of the rainbow as a heavenly sign beyond the control of human beings. This “bow” or “arch” in the heavens, he explains, indicates the distinction between the Abrahamic and Noahic covenants in the Bible. (Episode 95)
It’s All About the Wheat

It’s All About the Wheat

2019-11-2800:26:30

When the disciples turn to Jesus to explain the parable of the wheat and the tares, they make the terrible mistake of reducing the Lord’s teaching to “the parable of the tares of the field,” omitting any reference to the wheat in verse 36. This omission betrays their misplaced focus: The parable is all about wheat production, but the disciples remain preoccupied with the tares, ignoring the imperative of the parable.Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:36-43. Episode 306 Matthew 13:36-43; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Frost Waltz” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Life Blood

Life Blood

2019-11-2600:18:07

This week, Fr. Paul explains that only God has dominion over life and death in the Bible, and subsequently, the blood of earth mammals—including human beings—is strictly his domain. (Episode 94)
Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

2019-11-2100:22:06

We human beings foolishly trust in our own eyes. We look at other people and assume that we understand what we see and then we make judgments. But is it really possible to see? When you look at a field freshly planted, can you point out which seed will be most productive? Of course, you can see the field, and you may even know where the seeds are planted, but you have no clue what’s going to happen. The result is in the seeds, but this result is hidden from you in plain sight, from the foundation of the world. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:31-35.Episode 305 Matthew 13:31-35; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Magic Forest” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Everything That Swarms

Everything That Swarms

2019-11-1900:16:00

This week Fr. Paul critiques the commonplace human assumption that the animals are “like us,” noting that in Scripture it is the human beings who are like all the other animals. As with the New Testament, where the oikonomos is no different than the other slaves in the household, so too in Genesis, man’s appointed responsibility does make him different than any of the other earth mammals. (Episode 93)
There Are No Good Guys

There Are No Good Guys

2019-11-1400:25:10

When we hear a story of judgement in the Bible, our natural tendency is to try to identify the good guys vs. the bad guys so that we can make ourselves one of the good guys. In this sense, we’re no different than the slaves in the parable of the wheat and the tares. We want to be on the right side so that we can remove the ones whom we decide are on the wrong side. However, in the parable, the Lord and Master of his slaves prevents us from doing so in order to protect his wheat. As a result, both the wheat and the tares are forced to live together in God‘s field until the time of the harvest. In the meantime, no one is aloud judge anyone or to separate one kind of person from another. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:24-30.Episode 304 Matthew 13:24-30; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Skye Cuillin” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Upon Ararat

Upon Ararat

2019-11-1200:19:30

Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 8 by emphasizing the Scriptural priority of the animals, differentiating between the creatures of the sea, the creatures of the ground and the birds of the air—the latter being of special importance. He also touches again briefly on the mention of Ararat, which, he explains, appears in the story as a clear indication of the Syrian desert. (Episode 92)
Roots Not Fruits

Roots Not Fruits

2019-11-0700:19:07

Whether dealing with cultural or historical themes, or emphasizing biblical languages, we talk a lot about historical context on the podcast. So let me be blunt, the popular notion that teachers should “make the Bible relevant today” or “make the Bible relatable,” is absolutely wrong. It’s not only wrong, it’s unforgivable, because when you engage in such nonsense, you shut your students out of the Kingdom. In order to understand what someone is saying, you need to learn their language and understand their situation—you need to relate to them. This applies not just to history and language, but also to physical and geographic context. On the other hand, you could try to make the the whole world relate to you, see everything and hear everyone from your perspective and filter everything through the lens of your thoughts, feelings and experiences...please let us know how that works out for western civilization. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:17-23.Episode 303 Matthew 13:17-23; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Hotrock” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Out of Control

Out of Control

2019-11-0500:15:40

In today’s program, Fr. Paul explains how the scriptural God acts according to his own good pleasure, disrupting the expectations of the story’s addressees. Do the waters besiege the land? Does the land encroach upon the waters? Can anyone know how God will act or control what he will do? Of course not. All we can do is hear what comes next in the story. (Episode 91)
Ignorance and Blindness

Ignorance and Blindness

2019-10-3100:20:26

In Matthew’s account of the parable of the sower, Jesus demonstrates the meaning of three critical Matthean teachings: 1) “Seek and ye shall find,” 2) “The eye is the lamp of the body,” and 3) “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven.”The last warning baffles modern Christians for whom religion is a pursuit of happiness vis-à-vis emotional and psychological consolation. Matthew’s Gospel dynamites this illusion in it’s proclamation and application of Isaiah, where the showdown between God and his people makes it very clear that some sins are definitely unforgivable. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:14-16. Episode 302 Matthew 13:14-16; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Come Play With Me” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Let Every Breath

Let Every Breath

2019-10-2900:16:01

This week, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 7 highlighting the difference between soul and spirit in the original Hebrew. Even for English speakers familiar with the distinction between these terms, without a solid grounding in the actual text of Genesis, we are bound, Fr. Paul explains, to conflate their meaning. (Episode 90)
Seek and Ye Shall Find

Seek and Ye Shall Find

2019-10-2400:20:16

Over the centuries, so much of Scripture has been taken out of context that it’s sometimes difficult to hear the obvious in the text. In the Gospel of Matthew, the characters in the story are themselves blind to the obvious meaning of Scripture for the very same reason. In the absence of study, repetition, and familiarity with the written teaching, the obvious becomes hidden to us in plain sight—the obvious appears to us to be a mystery. “Seek,” the Matthean Jesus warns us, “and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7)Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:10-13. Episode 301 Matthew 13:10-13; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Fast Talkin” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Two by Two

Two by Two

2019-10-2200:17:18

In today’s program Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 7, reading the Hebrew text alongside the KJV and RSV versions of the English text. In doing so, he exposes the limits of translation and the gross over simplification—even disregard—for the author’s original work. (Episode 89)
Today’s program marks the 300th episode of the Bible as Literature. Years ago, Fr. Marc and Richard’s wife, Hollie, were going back and forth on a title for the education program at St. Elizabeth—eventually, they opted for “The Ephesus School”—a name inspired by a paper Fr. Paul had recently presented. With the Benton’s move to Minnesota, Fr. Marc had been thinking about ideas for a podcast, something like “The Priest and the Professor” and Hollie, always in earshot of Fr. Marc’s and Richard’s discussions about the Bible, insisted that they record their conversations, “so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:36) With her encouragement, the project became a reality. It is providential that the 300th episode of the podcast falls on the parable of the sower in Matthew. “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:1-9. Episode 300 Matthew 13:1-9; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Autumn Day” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Birds, Kings, and Shepherds

Birds, Kings, and Shepherds

2019-10-1500:16:46

This week, Fr. Paul wraps up his discussion of Genesis 6, giving Richard and Fr. Marc an opportunity to ask questions. As always, Richard opened Q&A with an insightful discussion of the original Hebrew, which lead to an excellent overview of kings, shepherds, and functionality in the Bible. (Episode 88)
A New Tribe

A New Tribe

2019-10-1000:27:13

In a culture that places family first, the Lord’s ambivalence toward his mother and his brothers in the Gospel of Matthew is confusing, if not utterly scandalous. Why would Jesus ignore his close relatives and leave them standing outside? The answer presented in the text is straightforward: the disciples are the Lord’s true relatives, because it is the Father’s teaching—not human blood ties—that serves as the organizing principle for the tribe of Jesus. This new definition of family reflects the teaching of adoption found in St. Paul’s letters: those who submit to the teaching of the Father are adopted into the Lord’s family. “Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:46-50. Episode 299 Matthew 12:46-50; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Acid Trumpet” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
This week Fr. Paul highlights the connection between Genesis 6 and the story of Moses in Exodus. As always, this connection is impossible to discern in English—but this time there’s a twist. The English word “ark” in Genesis 6 sounds deceptively like the word “ark” in Exodus 25. In fact, they are totally unrelated; and as you’ll soon discover, the the real connection to Exodus in the original Hebrew is far more interesting. (Episode 87)
Mitzvah!

Mitzvah!

2019-10-0300:22:55

The ability to read biblical signs—which comes from hearing, reciting, and doing the commandments of Scripture—protects us from being fooled by false prophets. Is something a righteous act? What’s the difference between an exorcism performed by Jesus and one conducted by a son of the Pharisees? In the Gospel of Matthew, the answer to this question is twofold: 1) do you recognize the commandment of God at work in the action, and, 2) what outcome did the action produce? You will know a tree by its fruit. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:43-45. Episode 298 Matthew 12:43-45; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Walking Along” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Why Do You Call Me Lord?

Why Do You Call Me Lord?

2019-10-0200:13:07

In today's episode we discuss why faith is better translated as trust. We also highlight how faith is not an intellectual concept, but a deep trust that is rooted in the firm belief in God's promises and His coming Kingdom. With respect to the argument of "faith vs. works," the audience will be encouraged to re-frame their thinking of salvation as an inheritance: something that can never be earned, but can be lost. Finally, Fr Aaron shared a saying from Fr Paul Tarazi that we all would do well to remember: "Salvation is free of charge, but with a charge."
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Comments (3)

Daniel Stout

i thought the eye of the needle was a small opening in the Mediterranean Sea that was plagued with huge waves making it incredibly difficult for ships to navigate. must be the mandela effect lol

Aug 7th
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Daniel Stout

I'm really glad i found your podcast...I was searching for a deeper Christian podcast...anyways, keep up the good work...One question..Why do you (and many other pastors) refer to yourself as "father" when our commander in chief "Jesus Christ" plainly states in the Gospels, not to refer to any man as father for you only have 1 father, He who is in Heavan? A Catholic priest once told me that there were many different words for father back then...This answer is not sufficient for me or sufficient enough to risk going against Gospel...Just curious

Jul 19th
Reply

Gary Sarkessian

the resurrection of Jesus is escatalogical, right?

Feb 21st
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