Misreading Scripture With Individualist Eyes
The Bible was written within collectivist cultures. When Westerners, immersed in individualism, read the Bible, it's easy to misinterpret important elements-or miss them altogether. In any culture, the most important things usually go without being said. So to read Scripture...
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The Bible was written within collectivist cultures. When Westerners, immersed in individualism, read the Bible, it's easy to misinterpret important elements-or miss them altogether. In any culture, the most important things usually go without being said. So to read Scripture well we benefit when we uncover the unspoken social structures and values of its world. We need to recalibrate our vision. Combining the expertise of a biblical scholar and a missionary practitioner, Misreading Scripture with Individualist Eyes is an essential guidebook to the cultural background of the Bible and how it should inform our reading. E. Randolph Richards and Richard James explore deep social structures of the ancient Mediterranean-kinship, patronage, and brokerage-along with their key social tools-honor, shame, and boundaries-that the biblical authors lived in and lie below the surface of each text. From Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to Peter's instructions to elders, the authors strip away individualist assumptions and bring the world of the biblical writers to life. Expanding on the popular Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, this book makes clear how understanding collectivism will help us better understand the Bible, which in turn will help us live more faithfully in an increasingly globalized world.
E. Randolph Richards (M.Div. and Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Dean of the School of Ministry and Professor of Biblical Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is co-author of Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to His Life and Work, and The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology; and author of Paul and First-Century Letter Writing and The Secretary in the Letters of Paul. He has frequently served as an interim pastor, and as a missionary with the International Mission Board, SBC in East Indonesia where he served for eight years as a faculty member and consultant at an Indonesian seminary.
- The Bible Was Written Within Collectivist Cultures. When Westerners, Immersed In Individualism, Read The Bible, It's Easy To Misinterpret Important Elements-or Miss Them Altogether. In Any Culture, The Most Important Things Usually Go Without Being Said. So To Read Scripture Well We Benefit When We Uncover The Unspoken Social Structures And Values Of Its World. We Need To Recalibrate Our Vision. Combining The Expertise Of A Biblical Scholar And A Missionary Practitioner, Misreading Scripture With Individualist Eyes Is An Essential Guidebook To The Cultural Background Of The Bible And How It Should Inform Our Reading. E. Randolph Richards And Richard James Explore Deep Social Structures Of The Ancient Mediterranean-kinship, Patronage, And Brokerage-along With Their Key Social Tools-honor, Shame, And Boundaries-that The Biblical Authors Lived In And Lie Below The Surface Of Each Text. From Abraham, Sarah, And Hagar To Peter's Instructions To Elders, The Authors Strip Away Individualist Assumptions And Bring The World Of The Biblical Writers To Life. Expanding On The Popular Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes, This Book Makes Clear How Understanding Collectivism Will Help Us Better Understand The Bible, Which In Turn Will Help Us Live More Faithfully In An Increasingly Globalized World.
- Part One: Social Structures Of The Biblical World
- 1. Kinship: Being In A Family
- 2. Kinship: Staying In A Family
- 3. Patronage: Gifts Had Strings Attached
- 4. Patronage: The System And The Players
- 5. Patronage: Grace, Faith And The Language Of Patronage
- 6. Brokerage In The Biblical World
- 7. Brokerage In The Bible: Sometimes It Works (and Sometimes It Doesn't)
- Part Two: Social Tools For Maintaining Collectivist Values
- 8. Having Honor
- 9. Gaining Honor
- 10. Honor Contests
- 11. Having Shame
- 12. Shaming Done Right (and Wrong)
- 13. Having Boundaries
- 14. Guarding Boundaries
- Part Three: Why Does Collectivism Really Matter To Me?
- 15. Redeeming Kinship And Boundaries: Who Are Our Family
- 16. Redeeming Patronage And Brokerage
- Conclusion: Biblical Collectivism In My Individualist World: Me And We