‘An Urban Book’

by James Fawcett June 27, 2014 A

Robert Linthicum, in his book, City of God, City of Satan says,

It comes as a surprise to us all: the Bible is an urban book!It is hard for us to appreciate that the world of Moses and David and Daniel and Jesus was an urban world.

Pg 21

Context is everything. I’m sure that if you have ever studied the Bible, or sat in a sermon, or given one yourself, you have heard this many times. So what happens when we look at the context of the Bible? Can we find an urban context? What is it? 

Linthicum suggests we read the bible through ‘rural glasses’ (Pg 22) when most of the bible was played out in the city. He reminds us that Rome had a million inhabitants whilst Ur had 2000 and B.C had 25000. Linthicum suggests that the reason we are so ‘rural’ in our approach to the Bible is because those that are influential in our church history were mostly rural dwellers; Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and others.

Only Calvin, among later theologians, attempted a theological formulation for a urban environment – and the Geneva of his day numbered only sixteen thousand.

Pg 23

So this leaves us with some major questions about what we may have missed or maybe what we can gain by re-reading the bible through ‘urban lenses’. We re-discover things we have missed. Did you know that 1/3 of the Psalms are city based? Over the next 3 Fridays i’m going to do 3 reflections on Psalm 48.