I’ll be blogging a few thoughts on each speaker and topic for our upcoming (August 18) Naked Bible Conference. You can read the full abstract of each speaker and topic at the website. My thoughts here are just to give you all a heads up as to why I invited the speaker and encouraged the topic.
Today’s thoughts are in regard to Dr. Bill Arnold and his topic, “Israel In, Among, or Against Its Neighbors? A Singular Israel in a Pluralistic World.”
If you read the abstract on the conference website you’ll realize that Dr. Arnold’s topic has something to do with the common notion (especially online in places like YouTube) that Israelite thought either derives from Mesopotamian religious texts, or is evidence that books like Genesis “really” teach the same polytheistic religion of Israel’s ancient Near Eastern neighbors. These ideas spring from what’s called panbabylonianism — the notion that the material for the book of Genesis and other passages is dependent on (or stolen from) Sumerian or Babylonian texts. The relationship between biblical and Mesopotamian material is much more complex than this notion, but that doesn’t stop internet “researchers” from making such claims.
Dr. Arnold has written about the history of this idea in several places. I’ve blogged about it as well and linked readers to some of Dr. Arnold’s work. He’s the ideal speaker to address the topic for Naked Bible readers and podcast listeners. Come hear him this August in Dallas! He’ll be eager to answer questions about this issue.