Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

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The Curse of Ham: Biblical Justification for Racial Inequality?

Charles David Isbell

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 1-11

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.01

The story of the drunkenness of Noah that caused him to remove his clothing and thus provided the opportunity for his son, Ham, to “see” him (Genesis 9:20‒27), has never received an interpretation that has been unanimously adopted by interpreters over the centuries. By examining the concept of “nakedness” as it functions in biblical legislation, this article argues that the most plausible understanding of the passage is that Ham committed incest with the wife of his father, Noah. Concomitantly, it becomes clear that the literalist idea of “race” used to undergird either slavery or any comparable form of white supremacy cannot be derived exegetically from the passage.

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On Behalf of Resurrection: A Second Reply to Cavin and Colombetti

Stephen T. Davis

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 13-24

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.02

This essay is a reply to “The Implausibility and Low Explanatory Power of the Resurrection Hypothesis—With a Rejoinder to Stephen T. Davis” by Robert Greg Cavin and Carlos Colombetti. In it, I establish what natural laws are, what a miracle is, and how “naturalism” and “supernaturalism” differ as worldviews. Cavin and Colombetti argue that if the Standard Model of particle physics (SM) is true, then the resurrection of Jesus did not occur and physical things can only causally interact with other physical things. I argue that neither point follows.

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Why Religious Experience Cannot Justify Religious Belief

David Kyle Johnson

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 26-46

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.03

Theists often claim that neither the diversity of religious experience nor natural explanations for religious experience can threaten the ability of religious experience to justify religious belief. Contrarily, this paper argues that not only do they pose such a threat, but the diversity of religious experiences and natural explanations for them completely undermine their epistemic justificatory power. To establish this, the author first defines the supposed role of religious experience in justifying religious belief. Then the author shows how the diversity of religious experience raises an inductive problem that negates religious experience’s ability to justify religious belief. The author then shows that available natural explanations for religious experience do the same by simply providing better explanations of religious experiences (i.e., explanations that are more adequate than religious explanations of those experiences).

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The Influence of Humanism on the Main Magisterial Reformers

John F. Lingelbach

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 48-64

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.04

In light of the wide acknowledgement that humanism influenced the Protestant Reformation, one must ask the question about how much of what Protestantism maintains owes a debt to this modern ideology often juxtaposed in contrast to Christianity. Given the remarkable role of such a controversial ideology during a seminal period of the modern church, this study seeks an answer to the following question: how did the humanism movement of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries impact the lives and work of the main Magisterial Reformers? This research is important and necessary because discovering the answer to this question leads to an understanding of the larger question of how humanism impacts the Protestant tradition. Understanding the nature of this impact sheds light on what Protestantism means and may induce some Christians to contemplate why they call or do not call themselves “Protestants” or “humanists.” This present study progressed through four phases. First, the study sought to describe the humanism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Second, it sought to describe the impact this humanism had on society. Third, the study analyzed how the social impacts of the humanism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries served to advance or hinder the causes of the main Magisterial Reformers. Finally, it synthesized the findings. This paper argues and concludes that the humanism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries impacted the lives and work of the main Magisterial Reformers by facilitating their desire to include the common people in a religious world previously dominated by the elite.

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Atheism is Global Atheism

Jack David Eller

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 66-86

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.05

Accepting Diller’s challenge to justify “global atheism,” despite its supposed crushing burden of knowledge, this paper argues that the global atheist bears no extraordinary burden. In fact, all atheism is global atheism, as an atheist lacks any and all god-beliefs; while a local theist, who accepts one of the myriad god-beliefs over all others, has a special burden to account for that choice. Surveying the diversity of god-concepts across religions and how atheists dismiss and discard them, this paper provides an inductive and philosophical foundation of global atheism—as well as illustrating that local theisms are more prone to blending and overlapping than allowed in Diller’s scheme.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea? Re-Examining Christian Engagement with Ba’athism in Syria and Iraq

Louis Elton

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 88-110

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.06

This article re-examines the dominant scholarly perception that Christian support for Arab Nationalist regimes is primarily a product of fear of Islamism. After a brief examination of the Christian origins of Ba’athism—a form of Arab Nationalism—the author argues that a more granular understanding of the current Christian politics of Syria and Iraq reveals that while some Christians have supported regimes out of fear, there is also significant strain of active, positive support, though to what extent this is a product of Christian identification with Arab identity requires further research. The study employs an examination of posts from pro-Assad Syrian Christian Facebook pages.

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Hermeneutic Applications from the Patristic Exegetes

James D. Johansen

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 112-141

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.07

This paper examines modern hermeneutic approaches and how patristic exegetes can complement interpretative methods. Modern hermeneutics apply different procedures depending on the genre. Kannengiesser’s Handbook of Patristic Exegesis is used to summarize patristic views by specific book and genre, while Russell’s Playing with Fire, Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, and Kaiser and Silva’s, Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics frame the range of modern hermeneutic approaches. Perspectives on spiritual formation are addressed per genre since it is important for biblical interrelation and application and was valued by patristic exegetes like Augustine. The paper shows how patristic exegetes focused on the spiritual and seeking the Bible’s deeper meaning. It demonstrates how Russell’s spiritual formation emphasis aligns with Augustine’s spiritual burning that transformed his life and how this emphasis aligns with the patristic exegetes’ desire to seek deeper spiritual meaning in scripture.

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Love Thy Neighbor: The Expansive Command

Steven Bishop

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 143-155

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.08

John Hartung asserted in “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality” that the command to love, and the later use of it by Jesus, does not apply to everyone but only to those within one’s own group. Through a close reading of Leviticus and the Gospel of Matthew, this essay questions Hartung’s hermeneutic and assesses his conclusion as erroneous. By interrogating the world of the text using a literary method, this essay argues for an appreciation of the complexity of the language and the importance of literary context.

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“From Every Tribe and Tongue and People and Nation”: The All-Inclusive Group

David G. Hellwig

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 157-171

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.09

This article seeks to take a position different from John Hartung’s position in his article entitled, “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality.” His article was originally written in two separate issues in Skeptic in 1995 and 1996. Hartung takes the position that in-group morality (a moral code for a specific group) exists so that religious groups can compete against other groups, even overcoming them through violence and subordination. The position of this present article seeks to show that Hartung’s premise falls short through examination of presuppositions, the central motif of redemption, and a high view of Scripture in light of its context. This article will address certain components from Hartung’s article to state a position that remains true to the biblical text. Instead of an in-group morality, this article promotes an all-inclusive group morality that is intended to extend beyond that group to others for the purpose of evangelism, not competition.

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Book Review: Judaism and Jesus, by Zev Garber and Kenneth Hanson

Eugene J. Fisher

Vol. 2, No. 2

Fall 2020

Pages: 173-187

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DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2020.vol2.no2.10

The authors show the Jewishness of Jesus and his teachings. They delve into what unites and what distinguishes Judaism and Christianity, especially in the Jewish liturgical practices that the early Christians, who were mainly Jews, took from their ancient traditions and modified to establish the liturgies that Christians practice today. They call, rightly, for dialogue between all Christians and all Jews, having established how much we can learn about ourselves by learning from the other.

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