I’m constantly working to make OMGWTFBIBLE better. And now you can help. I’ve put together a super-quick survey you can take to help make this show even better. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey by clicking here. Your responses will help me decide where to focus my Bibley efforts in 2014 and beyond!
Check out the latest Just the Bible Bits episode below!
Catch up on all the Bible craziness with these jam-packed, king-sized episodes! Part 2 of Just the Bible Bits 1 features chapters 23-41.
SermonSlam is a unique Jewish event, a religious-themed open mic, where anyone can take the stage and deliver a 5-minute sermon, speech, or whatever. Tonight, I’ll be talking about “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” at the freedom-themed SermonSlam in Washington Heights. I’d be delighted if some podcast listeners came to see me! Details are here and below.
SermonSlam Washington Heights
YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood
54 Nagle Avenue
Episode 19 is now available on Jewcy!
This month, Rabbi Joshua Yuter joined me as we read chapters 42-44. When we started, Joseph was stuck in jail. By the end of the episode, through some very unlikely dream analysis, Joseph ends up running the show in Egypt. Along the way, Rabbi Yuter and I discussed an Orthodox approach to Biblical criticism, what Pharaoh’s birthday parties must have been like, and alternate analyses of Pharaoh’s dreams.
Here’s my attempt to modernize the interpretation of those dreams:
At that point, people saw dreams as either telling about a thing that had happened, reflecting a thing that’s going on right now, or as predicting the future. And people immediately say “OK what does this dream predict?” Which is not something that we do. Now we tend to think of dreams as reflecting a vulnerability, reflecting our unconscious. So I thought about that and tried to figure out what, if we were to use that kind of analysis, what Pharaoh’s unconscious might be saying.
What was Rabbi Yuter’s analysis? Listen to find out. But not here! Head on over to Jewcy.com to listen there, the ONLY place on the Internet you can get new episodes of OMGWTFBIBLE. Until tomorrow.
Episode 5 guest Esther Werdiger once submitted a whole bunch of cartoons to the New Yorker. It’s true. She did. And then she never heard back. If you know Esther’s style, you know that she usually tells longer, more personal stories. So seeing her try to cram all of that into a single frame is very interesting. You can read them all at The Awl, but this one is my favorite:
I’m very excited to announce that Jewcy.com is now the Internet co-host of OMGWTFBIBLE. Starting with episode 19, recorded last night, new episodes will be available exclusively on Jewcy for a full day before they get released elsewhere. So if you want to get your OMGWTFBIBLE fix before anyone else does, point your browser to Jewcy.com in the week after each episode is recorded (Did I just say “point your browser?” What am I, somebody’s grandma?). Episode 18 with Ari Mandel is already up. Really, though, I’m just honored to be part of the blog network behind Jewcy, Tablet, and the Vox Tablet podcast.
As we geared up for this partnership, I sat down with episode 12 guest and Jewcy editor, Elissa Goldstein, to talk about the genesis (sorry) of the show and where it might go in the future. The whole interview is on Jewcy, but here’s a taste:
Where did the inspiration for OMGWTFBIBLE come from? How long do you think it will take to complete?
I find this question difficult to answer because I can’t really name one source of inspiration. To me, OMGWTFBIBLE is the merging of a few strands I was following at the beginning of 2012. I’d long been fascinated by how few people had read the Bible, let alone in the original Hebrew, and would sometimes drunkenly take a Tanach off my shelf and try to read the story of Tamar and Judah to people. In my stand-up, I started reading very loopy sci-fi stories I wrote when I was 9 and interrupting them with jokes about how silly they were. I had just learned about Mishnah Nazir and thought it was absolutely crazy and, for a week, was considering using the interruption story model for the Talmud: I’d project snippets of the Mishnah for stand-up audiences and translate them live, emphasizing their goofiness.
But then I realized I should go back even further.
The stage for Esther’s pitch is set in Chapter 4 of the Megilla named for her. That’s when she learns, through Mordechai, of Haman’s plan of genocide for all the Jews in Achasuerus’ (or Xerxes’, if you’re nasty) domain. She’d like to petition the king to change his mind but, as she tells Mordechai, “any man or woman who goes to the king’s inner court without permission–there’s just one rule–they die.” It’s pretty clear her pitch is a risky one.
Esther goes anyway. After 3 days of fasting and market research (we can only assume), she enters the king’s inner court. Without permission. Achasuerus points his golden scepter at Esther, signifying he won’t kill her. Esther invites her husband and Haman to a string of parties, the second of which is her pitch meeting. When she finally pitches, in chapter 7, Esther demonstrates an intimate knowledge of her audience and the market context.