Finding Faithfulness in all the Wrong Places: Making Sacred Sense of Drunkenness, Deceit, and Debauchery in the Hebrew Bible
This talk will be “birthed” out of Dr. Peter Lanfer’s current book project (Reading Sacredness in the Badly Behaving Bible) exploring the morally questionable stories of the Hebrew Bible that early Jewish and Christian interpreters had difficulty receiving as scripture. In the interpretive tradition, many of these stories are whitewashed and/or spiritualized in dramatic ways. For example: David’s illicit marriage to Bathsheba and murder of Uriah the Hittite disappear from the rewritten narratives of 1+2 Chronicles; Abraham is told to lie about Sarah being his sister (and God protects her while inside Pharoah’s harem), Noah’s drunken stupor becomes an occasion for prophetic revelation; and Jephthah who sacrifices his daughter is celebrated as a hero of faith. Through an examination of the reception and interpretation of narratives of Drunkenness, Deceit, and Debauchery in the Hebrew Bible, Dr. Lanfer will consider the impact of the textualization/scripturalization of oral narratives on the reception of them in early Jewish and Christian literatures.