Friday, June 01, 2018

Biblical Ethnocentricity

There may be another important consequence here with Ezra and that has to do with the historical Judeo-Christian understanding of “seed” and how that relates to historical religious racism and ethnocentricity. 

Lev 21:13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
15 Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the Lord do sanctify him.

Jews had had an unfortunate history of ethnocentricity at certain points in their history. Ancient Jews despised Samaritans for being ethnically impure.  Also, there is a not uncommon belief that a convert to Judaism may not fully be a convert if he or she isn’t of a Jewish bloodline. In modern times there has been accounts of prejudice of certain Jewish ethicities against Jews migrating from Iran or Yemen.

Ezra’s over-interpreted these regulations in Leviticus likely lead to a racist and ethnocentric interpretation.  

I think the examples of Jethro, Rahab, Naaman, and Ruth’s conversion deminstrate that God is no respecter of person and being God’s seed has everything to do with spiritual conversion and nothing to do with bloodline. 

Abinadi in the Book of Mormon clarifies just what God means by the term “seed”. 

Mosiah 15:11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord--I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.

Marriage into the covenant is critical.  The Bible warns how Solomon’s strange wives  eventually led his heart away from God.  However, I think Ezra’s ethnocentric interpretation of “seed” has led to tragic prejudice, bigotry, and racism in the judeo-christian world.  These false ethnocentric ideas even crept their way into early Mormon thinking. 

Ezra 9:2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.

Christ’s liberating gospel, on the other hand,  taught the equality man.  Paul, a Pharisee, taught the Galatians:

Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

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