Frequently Asked Questions concerning Sex in the Bible

I am about halfway through Mr. Crabtree’s notes for The Ethics of Sex in The Bible, Section III. So that  post will probably come out in the next few days.

In the meantime, a commenter had some questions- there were a lot of them, and I did not feel I could do them justice just in a reply.  Also,  I felt that some of his questions related to format- so I thought I might as well clarify that before going on.

His comment can be found at the end of this post- if I were more technologically ept I would link straight to it, but I’m actually lucky to have figured out the link thing at all.

You do WHAT in your Bible? How viscerally repulsive! Part II.

He begins:

I must say, I am confused by your approach.

I’m confused by the fact that I’m having to deal with this lecture.  At least we’re confused together.

The handout you are critiquing is not a transcription of Jack’s talk, it is an OUTLINE. And you are critiquing it without having even listened to Jack explain his argument?

Oh god.  I really am so sorry about that.  However this subject is very emotional for me. If you think my treatment of the outline is bad, I don’t think you would approve of me trying to do the livestreaming. The reason I’m critiquing the “OUTLINE” is because the written format is easier for me to deal with in a semi-rational manner.

This is as uncharitable and intellectually illegitimate as ‘tearing apart’ the argument of a book having read only the table of contents. 

But I don’t claim to be criticizing anything but the table of contents.

If anyone wants to read the book (aka the audio recording), it’s sitting there waiting for them.  I believe I’ve linked to the Gutenberg Website at least a couple times in all this.

Here it is again.

Sure, the handout was ‘public’. It was posted online so that people watching the lectures could follow the outline (I’m sure you are familiar with Jack’s lectures, and that he generally hands out an outline for the benefit of the listeners). A table of contents is also ‘public’.

We also don’t read Aristotle because all we have are his lecture notes!

I am not surprised that you are so confused about Jack’s references to Tobit, etc…

If you, with your auditorily wired brain, can explain to me how it is ethical to describe a ban on interracial marriage clearly found in a portion of the Bible ‘shared’ by Christianity and Judaism as a “Taliban”-like feature of first century Judaism, thus pushing the Christian and Jewish shared heritage of apparent racism off onto just the Jews- please, feel free.

I’m actually not kidding here.  It would make me a lot calmer to hear a convincing explanation of why I’m wrong.  This freaks the hell out of me.

He does define his terms… in the lectures.

Mm. In the outline, which appears to be presenting the structure of his argument, so that, as you pointed out, the audience of his lectures can follow his arguments more easily, he devotes THE ENTIRE first section to defining in detail, the types of people who will and won’t be attracted to his views.

He spends several bullet points in that section explaining the different definitions of ‘subculture’ and ‘underculture’.

The term I was most disturbed by his not-defining-of was “Biblical Sexual Ethics”.  The topic of the lecture.

It not even just that he didn’t put the definition in his handout.  It’s that there’s no place for him to say that definition in the flow of his argument as it now stands.

Why is it important to define the people who disagree with you as conformist moderns and the people who agree with you as courageous Jesus followers, in detail, at the beginning of your argument… but not define the subject?

And if he doesn’t define a specific term that you are confused about, there is a format for asking questions during the lecture.

Please see what I said above about myself, the written format, and rationality.

The real question is, if answers are so readily available (through online streaming) why aren’t you looking for them? 

Those I have spoken to who DID listen to the livestream and who DID ask questions were referred to ‘a sermon I’m going to do at Reformation next month’ that would answer all their questions.

That only has the value of hearsay, and if I were able to process the livestream format in a mentally intelligible  fashion, I would tell you whether it were true or not first hand.

That inability to process IS a failing on my part, but I didn’t make my brain.  If you have a problem with it, file a complaint with the Almighty.

Are you really interested in dialogue? Or are you trying to do something else?

Ah- 1) No, 2) Yes?

This is a blog, not Academia. If you look over my other posts, you’ll find they mostly involve how I feel about my mother and  how  I hate God  for being such a meanie weanie.  In this particular series of posts, I am processing my personal thoughts and emotions about Jack’s series.

I thought that was obvious.  If it wasn’t, I apologize.  I’m not sure if more or less sarcasm will make it clearer.

I’m not saying I will never be interested in dialogue. But if I ever write an actual rebuttal, it will be very dry, scholarly, and will have pages and pages of footnotes.  At that point I will also have calmed myself down enough to watch the recordings as well.

I can send it to you to critique first before sending it to Jack, if you like. 🙂

I am NOT saying this to invalidate your perspectives on the Bible or Biblical sexual ethics. From what I have read I am pretty sure we disagree on many things, but I am interested in hearing more of your perspective and understanding where you are coming from.

Well, thanks.  When I can stop seeing red, I may feel the same way about you.

That being said, I expect a certain standard of intellectual and discursive integrity from Gutenberg alumni. 

If this were a discourse, I believe I would be crushed by that remark.  Good thing it’s actually sort of my online diary that you decided to expose yourself too by reading, eh?

That being said, this lecture on Sex Ethics ended up being one of the things I cry about in my online diary because I expected a certain amount of intellectual and  discursive integrity from a Gutenberg Tutor.

It seems to me that in choosing to respond to Jack’s outline without bothering to listen to the lectures you have either carelessly or willfully set up a straw man and pinned Jack’s name to it.

If you chose to see what I’ve written as a formal response, then find you feel bothered by its informality, that is your decision.

Next, you seem to be saying that Jack is such a poor writer that his outline of his own argument constitutes a misrepresentation of said argument.  I at least think better of him than that. But- if you are right and Jack’s outline can’t be trusted to represent his argument- well- then-if Jack wishes to write caricatures of his own arguments and post them online with his name attached, that is his decision.

Finally, Noah, this is your uncle, and I do not expect you to be excited about the fact that I am criticising him, publicly, for all the world to see.  And Jack is a pleasant person who loves his children and family and has hopes and fears and the whole ball of string.

But so am I.

And I hardly expected my teacher to call me animalistic, morally disgusting, viscerally repulsive, an abomination, and to create special category of sinner for me along with pedophiles, sadists, and sociopaths (Section IV E)-

Publically, for all the world to see.

My family agrees with him, you know.

I do not believe I have earned this from him.





3 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions concerning Sex in the Bible

  1. I hardly expected my teacher to call me animalistic, morally disgusting, viscerally repulsive, an abomination, and to create a special category of sinner for me along with pedophiles, sadists, and sociopaths (Section IV E)-

    Publicly, for all the world to see.

    My family agrees with him, you know.

    I do not believe I have earned this from him.



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