Slaves, Women & Homosexuals

Book by William J. Webb

Book by William J. Webb

This book provides a methodology for analyzing scripture on any topic, comparing what scripture has to say in relation to the culture of the time (ancient Near-Eastern and/or Greco-Roman), to establish a kind of “direction” established by scripture. Called “redemptive-movement hermeneutics,” this methodology then examines where today’s culture is on the same subject, to see if we have progressed along the direction of movement encouraged by scripture.

On the subject topics, the author sees that the Bible urges or allows greater lenience to slaves and women than the culture of the time provided, so our culture’s continuation of this trajectory is along the path established by scripture. However, on the subject of gays, he believes that the Bible is more proscriptive than the culture of the time, establishing an “absolute no trajectory.”

The book has a host of criteria for evaluating the culture, criteria that would be useful indeed for a thorough examination of scripture relative to culture. I find it most useful, though, as a way analyze how we as the church have gotten interpretation of scripture wrong on now relatively “closed” subjects of contention, rather than a way to analyze the direction that we should take on current issues of great debate.

Link to VTS catalogue

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