Entries by David Galston

God is Dead

The short, famous, phrase of Friedrich Nietzsche, "God is dead," is an aphorism and not a statement of belief. Nietzsche did not originate the phrase, but he used it most notably in a parable about a madman. Using the form of a parable uniquely sets the phrase in poignant and poetic expression. If Nietzsche was [...]

A Secular Jesus

My first experiment with the historical Jesus in church occurred in Hamilton, Ontario. I was appointed to lead a community set up to explore new forms of Christianity. I wanted to see if it was possible to take the historical Jesus to church. The answer turned out to be yes, but the church won’t like [...]

Accepting the Unacceptable

Who wants to argue with a Rabbi? I do not, but this week a situation fell upon me. A local Rabbis of the Orthodox tradition cornered me and insisted that Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Beyond this, he claimed that in Judaism such knowledge is unquestionable. He seemed eager [...]

Of Dates and Times

When Charles Darwin's theory of evolution first gained popularity, one criticism was that the natural process he described took time, lots of time. In the 1700's Georges-Louis Leclerc estimated the earth was 75,000 years old. This was not enough time for evolution to produce all the life forms on our planet.

Backwards and Forwards

In Biblical Studies, there are two basic movements of criticism. The backward movement is the study of early units of developing tradition, and the forward movement is the study of later combinations of units into a larger, complex story. These two movements have names. The backward movement is called Form Criticism, and the forward movement is [...]