In November I went to the annual national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Francisco. I spent three days listening to over 30 papers written by some of the most preeminent biblical scholars in the world. It was quite an amazing experience. Hopefully, one day I will present something at that conference, but that’s a day at least several years away. For now I’d like to turn several of my favorite presentations into blog posts. Many of the presentations I heard were on magic, amulets, spells, and exorcism in the biblical world. Join me as we look at the first one: the exorcism of Jesus. (update: May 3, 2013: I never got around to writing the other two. Sorry. I have changed the title to reflect that this is no longer “Part 1”.)
There is an old saying: to translate is to lie. For your average church-goer, this may be a bit unsettling. Suddenly very bothersome questions start to arise. Are my English translations wrong? Can they be trusted? Do I have to know Hebrew and Greek to truly understand what the Bible says? The answer to all of these questions is: no…sort of. Join me as I give a few examples.