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Context, context, context.

Reader comment on item: Study the Koran?

Submitted by Phil Beckman (United States), Jan 20, 2004 at 23:47

I'm a pretty conservative christian, some might say a "fundamentalist," though that term has at least 100 different definitions. It's so important to read scripture in context. Much of the christian anti-semitism through the centuries was the result of failing to read the Bible in context.

Christians often forget that the New Testament, like the Tenach, is a book written by jews and about jews. The disciples were jewish, the food was jewish, the holidays were jewish, Jesus was jewish, the early church was made up almost exclusively of jewish people, indeed the first church Council met to decide the issue of whether or not christianity was exclusively for jews only.

An understanding of this context changes the way one sees the heated arguments and occasional harsh language in the NT. It's an in-house argument, a family squabble, in a middle eastern culture given to hyperbolic speech. Taking these statements out of their larger historical / cultural context distorts meanings and when combined with religious fervor, leads to brutal, horrific and shameful results.

Context, context, context. It yields a pleasant and peaceable fruit.
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