The first full day of the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship is over and we will soon be heading into the second day.
The most popular session is always the Open Forum which is moderated by Dr. Ralph Gilmore. The Monday sessions are typically quiet with few questions. Gilmore sets the stage by discussing questions that were previously sent to him. The remainder of the week often centers around the Monday questions. I suspect that will be the case this year.
Women, Divorce and Baptism
There were three primary areas of discussion today. The first: What is the appropriate role of women in the church? And two: Can a person be baptized who is presently in an improper marriage?
Inasmuch as these two issues are often at the center of intense and emotional issues I am sure we will be hearing more during the week. You can download audio of the Open Forum or watch it live at the University’s web site.
Ancient Near Eastern Influences on the Psalms
An after session entitled Ancient Near Eastern Psalms might have sounded a bit dry and academic but it proved quite interesting. Presented by Dr. Dale Manor of Harding University, the session looked at ways Hebrew writings in the Psalms may have been influenced by, and also caused influence to, such ancient societies as the Assyrians, Egyptians and Akkadians. Ancient references from these non-Jewish confirm Biblical accounts of the same gods we have talked about in our studies of the Judges and 1 Samuel. Archeological findings include statues and images of Baal and Astoreth and Dagon.
Interestingly, Dr. Manor is the Field Director of an archeological dig at the ancient city of Beth-Shemesh. You will recall that we have talked about Beth-Shemesh (Judges 1:33; 1 Samuel 6), in connection with the Philestines. It was fascinating to hear tha there was current research into this ancient city.