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Questions tagged [cultural-analysis]

Understanding the culture which an author wrote for/to is often key to understanding a text's original meaning.

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Scarlet or Purple?

I was talking with a friend, and he offered this up as a contradiction between the two accounts. When Jesus is about to be crucified, during his flogging Matthew says the soldiers clothed him in ...
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Why does God devastate Israel's vines and fig trees and not other crops in Hosea 2:12?

In Hosea 2:12 it says “I will destroy her vines and fig trees, Of which she said, ‘These are my wages Which my lovers have given me.’ And I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the ...
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What does Matthew mean by “those on His left” and “and those on His right” in Matthew 25?

In Matthew 25, starting in verse 34 the passage reads. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the ...
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Were Roman Soldiers allowed to Marry? The Word παῖς in Matthew 8:5 implies that Roman Centurion had offspring [closed]

Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 mentions a story of Centurion whose servant was healed by Jesus. Matthew in 8:5 uses the word pais which may mean son. However, Luke 7:2 uses the word dulos specifying ...
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Judges 21:19-25 Just carrying women away while they are dancing Seems like borderline mistreatment/abuse of women [closed]

Judges 21:19-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 19 So they said, “Behold, there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of ...
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How did authorities know that Paul was really a Roman citizen?

A previous answer to a different question ventured into the territory of my question here, quoting from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (which in turn, cited from some commentaries) that ...
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Why did the disciples lay their coats on the colt during the triumphal entry while others laid theirs on the ground? And other related questions

In the synoptic gospels, all of the accounts depict Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of a donkey. They make a note that the disciples placed their coats on the donkey (and Matthew's ...
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How do we decide if a biblical instruction is cultural or transcultural?

We ignore many instructions in the Bible, but keep some. For instance women do not stay silent in church or wear head coverings during prayer. How do we decide if a verse was written for the culture ...
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Could the symbolic gesture of shaking off dust in Matthew 10 and Acts 13 have been steeped in some Jewish culture?

Matthew 10:14 NASB 14 Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Acts 13:51 NASB 51 But they shook off the dust ...
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What is the “due penalty” mentioned in Romans 1:27?

As I went through my study of Romans, I was caught off guard by this verse - because there didn't seem to be any readily apparent answer given the context as far as I could discern it. 26 For this ...
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In Micah 2:12-13, what is a “breaker”?

In Micah 2:12-13 Micah predicts the arrival of the messiah whom he refers to as "the breaker" (הַפֹּרֵץ֙): KJV Micah 2: 12I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of you; I will surely gather the ...
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In Matthew 19:10 why did Jesus' disciples ask Jesus if it is better not to marry?

There is a question, to Jesus, whether a man can divorce his wife for any reason. Shammai and Hillel are the pharisees school of thought at that time. Hillel the liberal jew says that you can ...
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A nose ring, earring, or other in Genesis 24:22?

Abraham's servant is on a mission to find Isaac a wife, and he is blessed in that work. Upon Rebekah's fulfilling of the sign conditions of the servant's prayer to YHWH (Gen 24:12-20), the servant ...
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In Genesis 26:18, historical reasons why Philistines might have filled Abraham's wells of water?

In Genesis chapter 26, there are a number of points noted about wells of water. Using the NKJV, particular points paint an odd picture. First, Genesis 26:15, 17-18 (NKJV, bold added): 15 Now the ...
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In Genesis 46:6 what was the cultural significance of Joseph putting his hands on Jacob's eyes?

I am reading through Genesis in the New King James, and I came to this verse: Genesis 46:4 "I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand ...
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Is there any ambiguity in Luke 2:5 to whether Mary and Joseph were already married?

From a comparison of various translations of Luke 2:5 it seems there might be some ambiguity in this verse as to whether Mary and Joseph were married by the time they were traveling to Bethlehem. Some ...
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In Matthew 4:22 does “immediately” mean the disciples left without saying goodbye?

When Jesus called His disciples and the word says they left "immediately" Matt 4:22, did they actually drop everything "immediately" as we think in the west, or was there some type of cultural ...
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Significance of 1 Cor. 11:4 in light of the yarmulke/kippah

The Yarmulke or Kippah worn by followers of Judaism dates to at least ~600BCE and perhaps as far back as 1000BCE. My understanding is that this is a sign of respect and the Mishne Torah requires that ...
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Why did the Angel ask Joshua to remove the sandal from his foot and not his feet? (Joshua 5:15)

The Hebrew word used in Joshua 5:15 is Regel- רגל meaning FOOT. H7272 Original: רגל Transliteration: regel Phonetic: reh'-gel BDB Definition: 1) foot To cause him to ...
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Does Hebrew שׁלום have the connotation of death?

Albright (1931) notes two possible etymologies for the name of the Semitic god Šulmân (The Syro-Mesopotamian God Šulmân-Ešmûn and Related Figures. Archiv für Orientforschung. p. 168): The ...
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What did the ram mean to ancient Hebrew shepherds as to inform it's use as a guilt/trespass offering?

Why is a ram without blemish used for the guilt offering? N.B: Unlike the bulls, goats and lambs used for sin offerings, the ram is not required to be young only that it be without blemish. Lev 6:...
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Why didn't Boaz go home?

In Ruth 3:7-8 (NET) after working the Threshing floor for the day, Boaz eats his meal and falls asleep: When Boaz had finished his meal and was feeling satisfied, he lay down to sleep at the far ...
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Who is Apollyon in Greek Culture?

NASB, Revelation 9:11 - They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon. Who is "Apollyon", and how does an understanding ...
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In 1 Corinthians 11:4 why does Paul consider it a dishonor for a man to cover his head when praying or prophesying?

Why does the apostle Paul consider it a dishonour if a man prays with his head covered in 1 Corinthians 11:4? NIV-UK Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head.
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How should the, “discernment of spirits,” in 1 Corinthians 12:10 be interpreted taking cultural context into account?

It seems this is often interpreted as a gift of wisdom or discernment and doesn't take into account a cultural context that believes in the existence of real spirits. But to each one is given the ...
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John 7 - What were the religious / culture demographics of “The Galilee”? [closed]

Closely Related: - Matthew 4 - How Should Galilee of the Nations be Interpreted? - Was Nazareth a joke town? 1. Question, Historical Context: What were the religious / cultural demographics of "The ...
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Why use uncut stones for an altar but opulent items for the tabernacle? [closed]

To me it seems like a contradiction to have an altar made of stones that must be uncut in order to preserve the sanctity, then for the rest of the book and well into the next book describe the human ...
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Who was the Gilead of Judges 11?

In Judges 11: 1-3 it reads: Jephthah [Yiftach] the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were ...
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Paul's Use Of Greek Literature

I was reviewing an old post, "Does the New Testament quote extrabiblical writers?", and mentally linked it to a question on Mi Yodeya: "Is studying Greek culture a sin?". Paul, in giving an ...
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Could there have been a Threshold-god associated with 1 Samuel 5:5

Among the Romans there were three gods which made up the entrance of a door - "Cardea (Hinge-goddess), called after hinges, and Forculus (Door-god) after doors, and Limentinus (Threshold-god) after ...
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798 views

What about Psalm 29, specifically, makes somes scholars think it was originally a hymn to Ugaritic Baal?

I'm currently reading the Introduction of Stories from Ancient Cananan, eds. Coogan and Smith, and it gives several examples of how Canaanite gods and goddesses appear in several passages of the ...
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Which hermeneutical trump card wins in 1 Timothy: audience, cultural context, historical reference, or translation?

I have read books gifted to me or web articles from searches that each play a "trump card" to win the day for their 1 Timothy interpretation. See Pandora's Pulpit by Roger Sapp or The Junia Project, ...
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How much were sacrificial animals worth?

Leviticus 4-5 describes animal sacrifices. The chief priest had to bring a bull, while ordinary Israelites brought a female goat or lamb. Those who were too poor to afford a goat or sheep could offer ...
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Early church context: Do we have contemporary texts which add useful context for interpreting the New Testament? [closed]

What are the oldest known Christian texts that are not part of scripture, or considered apocryphal text? I'd be interested in brief details of any texts which may aid in our understanding of the New ...
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Why was it a public disgrace for Elizabeth to be barren? (Luke 1:25)

I have read through many translations of Luke 1:25 and I come away with the understanding that it was not just an "internal disgrace" for Elizabeth to not have any children, but also a public disgrace:...
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Was Jesus named after the eighth day of his birth?

In Luke 2:21 it says: "And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." Is this verse suggesting that ...
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How do Hebrew sacrificial traditions compare with other cultures? [closed]

In the book of Leviticus, the people of Israel are given a number of instructions regarding when and how to perform sacrifices to God. I have often found that cultural context is extremely valuable ...
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Why did God appear as a firepot and torch to Abram?

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves ...
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John 9: Did the blind man know scripture?

I found it odd that in John 9:30-33, the (healed) blind man refers to scripture, suddenly speaking as a learned scholar to the point where the Pharisees accuse him of lecturing them. I wonder, was it ...
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796 views

Whose faith is the subject of Hebrews 11:11?

Πίστει καὶ αὐτὴ Σάρρα δύναμιν εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος ἔλαβεν καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας, ἐπεὶ πιστὸν ἡγήσατο τὸν ἐπαγγειλάμενον (Hebrews 11:11, Westcott and Hort) The traditional translation of Hebrews ...
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What did Israel believe were the advantages of the monarchy system?

What are the apparent advantages of the monarchy system that Israel wanted to have that they saw in the other nations? There must be something they saw, for in 1 Samuel 8:4-5 and 19-20 we read (NASB): ...
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1answer
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What is the significance of the term 'bread falling from the table '?

What is the historical background of the mention of 'bread falling from the table' as is seen in Matthew 15:27 (NIV): “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their ...
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3answers
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Sandals and Holy Ground

In Exodus 3, Moses is commanded to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground, yet before him is appearing an Angel of the LORD, not God himself (in contrast to Exodus 19 an onward where ...
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362 views

Were priests prohibited from tearing their garments

While studying an aspect of the crucifixion of Jesus (the seamless garment that the soldiers cast lots for), I came across a sermon transcript that said the following as part of its argument (...
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In the New Testament, What is the Origin of “Believe In” and “Believe Into”?

Is there any Extra-Biblical source, (in Classical Greek, or Semitic sources), or a syntactical rule, behind the construction: ["πιστεύων ἐν" and "πιστεύων εἰς" + "Some Leader"]* — Or, is this ...
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1answer
7k views

In Acts 3:1, What is the Significance of the Ninth Hour of Prayer?

Acts 3:1 - Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the [a]ninth hour, the hour of prayer. I have been digging everywhere I can think of to find some description or outline of what happened ...
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Circumcision “reversal” in 1 Corinthians

1 Cor 7:18a: περιτετμημένος τις ἐκλήθη, μὴ ἐπισπάσθω· Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. (ESV) It's not hard to find ...
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5answers
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What is the intended image of “pierced my hands and feet” in Psalm 22:16?

I sometimes struggle to understand how some of the NT authors describe OT passages as messianic prophecies. One of these is from the 22nd Psalm. Psalm 22:16 NASB (emphasis added) For dogs have ...
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2answers
761 views

Background to the phrase “fall from heaven like lightning”?

When the 70 came back to Jesus they were excited to report to Him that they had even found that the demons had to obey them in Jesus' name. Jesus appears to affirm their account by saying the ...
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Psalm 23, “…table in the presence of my enemies…”

In Psalm 23, David talks about the Lord providing a "table" in the presence of his enemies. Just what does this table represent? Psalm 23:5 (ESV) You prepare a table before me in the presence ...