Whether the Bible is a collection of texts that can be used for moral guidance is an unresolved question for Western society. Bible-based religions use the book as a guide in order to shape ethics not only for their adherents, but for governance of the larger society as well. Hector Avalos, PhD, Professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University, has been deconstructing the monolith of respect that we are supposed to afford the Bible in several books and collections. Avalos' method lays out a careful and critical examination of the book itself as well as the apologetics approach that believing scholars use to misrepresent the ethics of this collection of authoritative scriptures.
Laying aside the verifiability of the texts collected into the Bible, which Avalos examined in his book The End of Biblical Studies, Avalos now turns to its ethics of slavery. Apologists claims that the Bible was a key tool in the 18th and 19th century abolitionist struggles for the ending of human slavery. In order to maintain the position that The Bible could be used to argue that God didn't want people to own other people, scholars need to misrepresent its clear teachings and Avalos shows in his forthcoming book Slavery, Abolitionism and the The Ethics of Biblical Scholarship.Avalos not only looks at the Bible itself, but also examines civilizations in the Middle East, both preceding the time line of the Bible and concurrent to discover whether or not its teachings were an improvement over the ethics of slavery for non-adhering societies.
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