Richard M. Davidson

This tag is associated with 4 posts

Sunday Quote!- Is God Male?

foyh-davidsonEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Is God Male?

I have continued working my way through the massive work, Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament by Richard Davidson. One topic he addresses is whether God is, in fact, male. A common belief among Christians is that God is male, and various arguments are summoned to support this. After examining and refuting several of these arguments, Davidson presents evidence to show that God is not male. His conclusion is pretty clear:

[T]he biblical material makes clear that the masculine does not exhaust the divine reality. In fact, Yahweh is above the polarity of sexuality and is neither male nor female, and displays within his nature both masculine and feminine dimensions. (130, cited below)

His argument is worth reading in detail, and summing it all up would be difficult. He summons the analogous use of feminine imagery for God as one line of evidence. Another argument he puts forward is to show that the avoidance of feminine pronouns and the like was to avoid the error of other Ancient Near Eastern cultures which identified the creator with creation in some ways through a womb metaphor.

Flame of Yahweh is shaping up to be a very important work in my collection. I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far, and been challenged by it on a number of topics. I recommend it to you, dear readers.

What do you think? Is God male? Why or why not?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- Sex is for Procreation?

foyh-davidson

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Sex is for Procreation?

A common assertion by many Christians is that the purpose of sex is for procreation. Although the value of this position in defending various other positions is not to be ignored, what is of concern is that this does not seem to encompass the totality of the biblical witness on the purposes for sex. Sexuality is a complex issue which the Bible addresses from multiple angles.

Richard M. Davidson’s seminal work, Flame of Yahweh, provides a comprehensive look at sexuality in the Old Testament. Against the notion that the purpose of sex is for procreation, he argues:

Amid the cacophony of pagan fertility rite percussion, beating out the message that sex is solely for procreation, in the Song [of Songs] the procreative function of sexuality is conspicuous by its absence. The Song does not deny this ninth facet of a sexual theology, but as in Gen[esis] 1, where procreation is added as a separate blessing (Gen[esis] 1:28), sexuality in the Song is freed from the common misunderstanding that its sole (or even primary) intent must be for the propagation of children. (605-606, cited below)

He provides much more argumentation than this, of course, but the conclusion above is telling. Perhaps we have missed something when it comes to the biblical teaching on sexuality. By focusing exclusively on procreation, we have not fully embraced the Bible’s comprehensive scope. The Song of Songs is an oft-ignored book which clearly shows the goodness of human sexuality, and that this goodness is not limited to the purpose of procreation.

That is a message worth putting forward, as couples struggle with miscarriage, infertility, and the like. Sexuality remains a good thing, even if it does not produce children, for God created human sexuality and called it good. The message of the Bible, and of Song of Songs in particular, teaches that human sexuality is wholesome and holistic, it is not reducible to one purpose or intent. See Davidson’s work, Flame of Yahweh, for further explanation and exegesis.

What do you think? How might the reductionist approach of sexuality = procreation often taught by Christians impact the perceptions about human sexuality? What can we do to better present the biblical view of human sexuality?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- Richard Davidson’s Moderate Egalitarianism

foyh-davidson

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Richard Davidson’s Moderate Egalitarianism

I’ve still been working my way through Richard Davidson’s mammoth study of sexuality in the Old Testament, Flame of Yahweh. The book is magisterial; there are not enough superlatives for it in my reading so far. His arguments are well thought out and he deals with the other side in great depth both in the text’s body and in footnotes. Davidson’s ultimate position is summed up about halfway through the book:

Jesus and NT writers began the task of cutting through all the then-current dualistic misogynist interpretations of the OT and the denigration of women, and ancient Jewish sources and practices likewise reveal a trend toward a higher view of women. It remains for the church and the synagogue to complete this task of restoration back to Eden. Divine grace is available to restore the home to the original egalitarian model, while allowing for servant leadership of the husband as may be temporarily necessary along the way to preserve unity and harmony in the family; divine grace will empower the covenant community to utilize and officially recognize the Spirit-endowed leadership gifts of women in the church and synagogue. May the day of complete restoration come soon. (295, cited below)

Davidson’s position is effectively the same as the egalitarian one until you read the middle section in which he advocates that the “servant leadership of the husband” could be a temporary necessity. His position, as argued earlier in the book, is that God mandated this kind of leadership post-fall because of the need for having leadership in the home now that sin has split it. However, even in this case he advocates working towards the Edenic ideal of a truly egalitarian marriage.

Such a position demonstrates, I think, the inadequacy of the current definitions of the egalitarian/complementarian debate. Because we have reduced it down to just two positions, some people who walk the line between the two don’t find a solid fit in either camp. I would characterize Davidson as an egalitarian, particularly due to his advocacy of working towards egalitarian marriage despite his view that a male-headship model of marriage might be a temporary necessity. Yet I wonder if we need to re-categorize the debate in order to more accurately allow for middle positions.

I’ve been greatly enjoying Davidson’s monumental work, Flame of Yahwehand recommend it to you, dear readers.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- Sarah the Matriarch as Equal to Abraham

foyh-davidson

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Sarah the Matriarch as Equal to Abraham

I’ve been reading through Richard Davidson’s tome, Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament, a huge study of, well, sexuality in the Old Testament. One portion focuses on the narratives in the Pentateuch and the women discussed therein. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, is shown to be the equal of Abraham, argues Davidson:

Details of Sarah’s life in the Genesis narratives reveal the high valuation of this matriarch, as she and her husband are portrayed as equal partners… given their social context, Sarah and Abraham are amazingly equal… (226, 227)

Davidson’s argument lists a number of reasons to believe this is the case. Here I will quote just a couple:

Sarah is regarded as just as critical to the divine covenant as Abraham himself… ([Genesis] 17:18-19; 21:12)… Sarah’s name is changed from Sarai, just as Abraham’s is from Abram… (17:16)… (227)

These are among the total of 10 main reasons Davidson cites to demonstrate that Sarah was “no wallflower.” The high valuation of women in the Old Testament is something Davidson demonstrates, in my opinion.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

SDG.

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