Week 1: The Word


Genesis 1:1–5
and John 1:1–5


Is a “secular” reading of the Bible even possible?

What is the Word?

The first page of Papyrus 66, P. Bodmer II, showing the first verses of the Gospel of John, c. AD 200.

In the beginning…

We all had faith in Teams, called in, and got this Bible ball rolling.

Some of us were raised in faith; others were not. Some are returning to a book they know well, others have never read a word.

No official notes were taken; however, we touched on:

  • the definitions of “secular”—a lack of faith? a lack of religion? church vs. state? can the state be a form of religion, and vice versa?
  • different flavors of atheism
  • what it might mean to treat a text “as scripture” versus “as literature” or “as propaganda”
  • believing with the mind, versus believing with the heart.

I’ll close with our only written contribution to the discussion, from a member whose Apocryphal name will be revealed in the coming weeks:

language/speaking is like sculpting wind. we literally turn the Air into intelligible meaning by forcing it through our vocal chords and lungs in weird ways. so if you look at what’s “behind” the Word, it’s like the materiality & ecology that is prior to the act of speech. the etymology of language itself is the bodily functions that make speech possible and the water, food, etc that fuel the body and if you keep going “backwards” like this into what makes speech/language possible you get to the BEGINNING

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