Essays on Biblical Texts

Essays on Biblical Texts

by Robert L. Canfield PHD


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Robert L. Canfield is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis. In this collage of essays he examines passages of the Bible that have informed his understanding of himself and his life and career. Its narratives, proclamations, examples, enjoinders, claims and promises have shaped his priorities, thoughts, and concerns and so affected his approach to the deep questions that on a subliminal level vex everyone. In these Biblical passages he finds grounds for reflection into the nature of the human condition, the origins of the Christian movement, the practice of authentic faith (which, he stresses, requires creativity), the social implications of belief in Christ, the threats to the earth's ecosystem, and the wonder of the cosmos. Some of the passages examined here have received little notice in Christian circles.
The chapters examine various texts in order to comment on diverse subjects: what Christianity is, rejection of slavery implied in two letters of Paul, the relation of envy and cowardice in public situations, the resurrection of Christ, suicide, political abuses of religious zeal, ways to live "non-religiously," Peter's insight into the state of those who have "never heard", the life of faith in an unpredictable world, the importance of prophetic social critique, the authority and significance of "twelve Jewish men" in the advance of the Christian movement, the marvel of the cosmos and nature's works, and, finally, a curious prediction of climate change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781514355305
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Pages: 162
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)

About the Author

Robert L. Canfield, PhD, University of Michigan, spent altogether nine and a half years in Afghanistan in the 1950s and 1960s. He taught sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St Louis from 1969 to 2013 and served as Department Chair for seven years. Trained to think of his discipline as the science of history, his scholarly interests have ranged widely. He has written on the cultural continuities of the Turco-Persian ecumene (a pattern of social conventions that at one time stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to India), on factional struggles among peasants in the Hazarajat, on inter-sectarian relations between the Ismailis and Ithna-ashariyyah Shiites of Afghanistan, on the Mujahedin coalitions that opposed the Soviets in the 1980s, on the Taliban and similar movements in Central Eurasia, and on the spatial dimensions of international power in Central Eurasia.
This work provides a brief glimpse into his private world. A practicing Christian for many years, he has found in the Bible many texts that have helped him work through some of the deep questions of life and experience. Its proclamations, examples, enjoinders, claims, and promises have shaped his approach to the deep questions that on a subliminal level vex all human beings. By discussing some of the passages of the Bible that have helped him think through such fundamental issues he invites others with less familiarity with the Bible to consider it as a creative source of reflection and insight on the enduring questions of life.

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