Push the Text

Is a paralytic just a paralytic? Why did the priest in Luke walk down from Jerusalem and not up? What is the significance of being half dead, or left for dead on the side of the road? Why are we told in Luke, not once, but twice, that functionaries of the Temple passed by, specifically, on the “other side” of the road? Are all these coincidences and casual occurrences, or is something more at stake? In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc explore these questions, explaining the central role of rigorous study in a disciple’s life-long quest for biblical wisdom. (Episode 20)

You Say You Wanna Teach?

In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Jesus’ famous declamation against the Scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23. It is commonly assumed that by condemning the hypocrisy of religious teachers, Jesus is endorsing an alternative, ethically correct teacher. In reality, Matthew’s beautiful and emotionally explosive woes are a universal description of flaws inescapable and endemic to human preaching and teaching. This raises important questions about the prophetic function of a teacher’s sins, and how these sins are used in Matthew to expose the self-righteous attitude of disciples. (Episode 19)

Can These Bones Live?

In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard review Fr. Paul Tarazi’s exegesis of the healing at Bethesda, (John 5:1-15) reflecting on the function of weakness in the New Testament and the Lord’s commandment to keep the Sabbath. They discuss how these concepts relate to the purpose of the Torah in Genesis and Exodus, and how this purpose is fulfilled in John’s proclamation of the Resurrection. This leads to interesting observations about the location of the biblical Promised Land and the subtle interplay in John between the function “Jew” and the function “Canaanite.” (Episode 18)

Interview with Fr. Sergius Halvorsen

In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, New York. In his work in the field of Homiletics, Fr. Sergius insists that his students strive to be faithful to the narrative in order that they, as he explains, might upset the equilibrium of their addressees. In this way, those who hear the sermon come face to face with the biblical story. (Episode 17)

Shame on Who?

In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc contrast biblical and worldly shame, reflecting on the central role that shame plays in the biblical tradition and the various responses to shame portrayed in the characters of Matthew’s gospel. In the Bible and in life, human shame can lead to alienation, mistreatment of those who are weaker, and in many cases, expiation by means of violence or suicide. Exploring these themes, the discussion sheds light on how biblical shame undermines these outcomes by redefining the object of our shame’s loyalty. (Episode 16)

Who is the King of Glory?

According to a 2014 survey published by The American Bible Society, the number of people who consider the Bible just a book “written by men” has doubled in just three years. In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard examine factors contributing to this trend through the lens of John 20 and the liturgical use of Psalm 24. You may be surprised where the bread crumbs lead. (Episode 15)

The Wrong Side of the Law

In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on John 12 and how the dialogue between Jesus and Judas illuminates an uncomfortable tension between Scripture and human systems of ethics and morality. Twisting a deconstructive prophetic mechanism (preaching on behalf of the poor against the rich) into a moral principle, Judas finds himself on the wrong side of the Law–in this case–the scroll of the Torah made flesh in the gospel narrative. This week’s program concludes with a special musical performance by children from the Ephesus School. (Episode 14)

Follow the Storyline

In this week’s episode of the Bible as Literature podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Fr. Paul Tarazi’s discussion in episode 12 of a biblical storyline, elaborating on various examples of how the Bible functions as a single story and how this understanding illuminates the text. (Episode 13)

Interview with Fr. Paul Tarazi

Fr. Marc and Richard welcome their teacher and professor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, who discusses his understanding of the Bible as literature and its implications for Biblical Studies. (Episode 12)

The Merciful Father

In this week’s episode Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the parable of the Merciful Father, a story commonly (and unfortunately) known by the name of its secondary character, the Prodigal Son. Where modern hearers of the Bible expect the Father to show mercy in the face of unspeakable betrayal, Fr. Marc explains that, taken in its proper context, the Father’s act of compassion is both incorrect and unjust. This raises questions about the problems of fairness and entitlement as they relate to grace and thanksgiving in the biblical tradition. The text discussed is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11-32. (Episode 11)