Skip navigation
Sidebar -

Advanced search options →


Welcome to CEMB forum.
Please login or register. Did you miss your activation email?


Help keep the Forum going!
Click on Kitty to donate:

Kitty is lost

Recent Posts

NayaPakistan...New Pakist...
Today at 01:55 PM

Do humans have needed kno...
Today at 01:42 PM

Excellence and uniqueness
by akay
Today at 01:03 PM

Qur'anic studies today
May 18, 2022, 11:56 AM

Qandeel Baloch.. The st...
May 18, 2022, 10:43 AM

مدهش----- لماذا؟؟؟؟
May 18, 2022, 10:32 AM

South Yorkshire
May 17, 2022, 11:23 PM

Russia invades Ukraine
May 17, 2022, 07:20 PM

Artificial intelligence ....
May 14, 2022, 09:49 PM

May 14, 2022, 08:55 PM

Apostasy Alternative
May 13, 2022, 08:30 AM

The German towns in Parag...
May 12, 2022, 07:32 AM

Theme Changer

 Topic: God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou

 (Read 2439 times)
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     OP - September 18, 2021, 09:33 PM

    Francesca Stavrakopoulou reads from her new book.
    Hebrew scholar Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou examines the Bible’s portrayal of God’s body, from his head to his feet, showing how the western idea of God developed from the ancient religions and societies of the biblical world.

    In the Beginning
    In this first episode, Francesca challenges the idea that the God of the Bible has no body, and is a “formless, invisible deity”.

    She says, “As I looked closely at the books comprising the Bible, I couldn’t find this bodiless God. Instead, these ancient texts conjured a startlingly corporeal image of God as a human-shaped deity, who walked and talked and wept and laughed. A God who was distinctly male. I want to tell the story of the real God of the Bible, as his ancient worshippers saw him: a supersized, muscle-bound, good-looking God, with supra-human powers and earthly passions. By exploring the body of this ancient deity as his worshippers imagined him, we can access their world. We can meet the real God of the Bible.”

    In the Footsteps of Gods
    This second episode begins in the ancient temple of Ain Dara, in Northern Syria. Professor Stavrakopoulou visited Ain Dara before the war in Syria began, and the temple was devastated in an air strike. Its historical significance lies in the fact that its structure maps precisely the biblical description of Solomon’s temple, and what’s striking is that pressed into the rock, across the limestone threshold, are a set of giant footprints going into the temple - the bare footprints of a God.

    This is the starting point for a fascinating exploration of the imprint of the feet of ancient Gods, and of the God of the Bible.

    “Such is the power of divine or holy footprints that they often become sites of competing religious claims. Most famous is the depression in rock akin to an enormous footprint on Sri Pada, a high peak in Sri Lanka. For Tamil Hindus, it is the print of Shiva, left as he danced creation into existence; for Buddhists the footprint belongs to Gautama Buddha, who pressed his foot into a sapphire beneath the rock; for Muslims, it is the print left by Adam as he trod on the mountain following his expulsion from Eden; for Christians, it is the footprint of Saint Thomas, who, it is claimed, brought Christianity to the region.”

    Back and Beyond
    In this third episode, she begins at the summit of Jebel Musa, the most sacred mountain in southern Sinai. These are the rocks, tradition has it, from which were hewn the tablets of the Ten Commandments. And here is the very spot where Moses asked to see God’s body in its most fulsome glory.

    “It is one of the more carefully choreographed exhibitions of God’s anatomy in the Bible. Like a celebrity stretching out a hand to block the paparazzi, God only permits Moses to see him from behind as he moves away. In the story, this is supposed to be a sign of divine favour. And yet culturally, the back of a god was more usually a devastating sight: it not only signalled divine displeasure but presaged disaster…”

    Cover Up
    In this fourth episode, she explores how Christian tradition has covered up the genitals, literally fixing bronze loincloths to Michelangelo’s nude statues of Christ.

    “No matter that Michelangelo, like many of his predecessors and peers, used the nude theologically to celebrate the humanity and masculinity of the divine Christ. For too many, the genitals were both spiritually and morally dangerous, and had to be hidden from view. Essentially, genitals were to be considered an aspect of the human condition, not the divine. And yet the body of the God of the Bible suggests otherwise…”

    Desiring the Divine
    In this final episode, she explores the staggering beauty of the God of the Bible.

    “God’s aesthetic qualities are more usually veiled in translation by the mistaken assumption that no one believed God had a body to be seen. His magnetic good looks are recast instead as immaterial moral virtues, so that, in most Bibles today, God is described not as ‘good-looking’, but ‘good’; he is not ‘lovely looking’, but ‘gracious’. And yet the Hebrew terms used in these psalms – tob and na‘im – carry with them a strong sense of the aesthetic, and they are often used to describe attractive people, pretty places and wondrous sights, rather than abstract qualities. God may well have embodied praiseworthy values, but he was also staggeringly beautiful…”

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #1 - September 18, 2021, 11:01 PM
    Three thousand years ago, in the Southwest Asian lands we now call Israel and Palestine, a group of people worshipped a complex pantheon of deities, led by a father god called El. El had seventy children, who were gods in their own right. One of them was a minor storm deity, known as Yahweh. Yahweh had a body, a wife, offspring and colleagues. He fought monsters and mortals. He gorged on food and wine, wrote books, and took walks and naps. But he would become something far larger and far more abstract: the God of the great monotheistic religions.


    Look inside:
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #2 - September 19, 2021, 10:54 AM

    nice find, will listen to radio4 series later.

    scanned through the youtube interview,  her explanations were very engaging and down-to-earth. the bit about pantheon reduction and demotion of unpopular gods were particularly interesting.
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #3 - September 19, 2021, 12:07 PM

    nice find, will listen to radio4 series later.

    For some reason I can't get the first episode to play. The other episodes play fine.
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #4 - September 19, 2021, 12:27 PM

    the website player seems to work at least on mobile.
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #5 - September 19, 2021, 02:32 PM

    It's working for me now that I've deleted cookies - I can't say I understand the reason.
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #6 - September 24, 2021, 11:00 PM
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #7 - September 25, 2021, 09:33 AM

    the more I hear her speak, the more I wonder why there isn't an academic doing the same brilliant job on deconstucting the islamic tradition and presenting it in an accessible way to the general public.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #8 - September 25, 2021, 01:04 PM

    Maybe academics (and publishers) in Islamic studies are treading carefully. I wouldn't blame them. Tom Holland is the nearest thing that comes to mind but he's not really an academic and his background is in Classics rather than Islamic history. Here's an old video with both of them speaking.
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #9 - October 02, 2021, 05:36 PM

    Book Shambles podcast.
    Francesca Stavrakopoulou was a guest on the first series of Tips for Existence and now that her first book, God: An Anatomy, has just been released we're excited to have her on Book Shambles with Robin and Josie to talk about it...
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #10 - October 02, 2021, 06:03 PM
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #11 - October 02, 2021, 06:32 PM

    Dan Snow Podcast:
    In one of the most popular episodes from our archive, Dan is joined by Francesca Stavrakopoulou to discuss the history and myths that surround Easter. Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Professor of Hebrew Bible & Ancient Religion at Exeter University. Her research is primarily focused on ancient Israelite and Judahite religions, and portrayals of the religious past in the Hebrew Bible. She is interested in biblical traditions and religious practices most at odds with Western cultural preferences.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #12 - November 02, 2021, 05:13 PM

    Review by Sarah Bond
    What does the real God of the Bible actually look like? A new book claims that centuries of Jewish and Christian piety have masked the fact that ancient worshippers viewed their God as a large, handsome, muscly deity with “a penchant for the fantastic and the monstrous.”...

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #13 - November 05, 2021, 07:41 PM

    Free Thinking on Radio 3:
    Modern theology often treats God as an abstract principle: a mover that doesn't move. But in the Bible, Abraham walks alongside him, Jacob (arguably) spends a night wrestling with him, Moses talks with him face to face, Ezekiel sees him sitting on a throne, and Amos sees him standing in his temple. Jesus is declared the son of God, and declares in turn that he has sat alongside God at his right hand. Biblical scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou joins Matthew Sweet to discuss the embodied divine and what it means for our understanding of God, along with with Hetta Howes, who studies Medieval mystical Christianity, and psychotherapist and former priest Mark Vernon.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #14 - November 06, 2021, 03:09 PM
    Monotheism, Disbelief and the Hebrew Bible, with Francesca Stavrakopoulou

    In the third interview in our series on ancient religious scepticism, Professor Tim Whitmarsh talks to Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou from the University of Exeter about monotheism and disbelief in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. They discuss how these slippery concepts might be seen to intersect with the historical events of the formative 'Persian period' (mid-6th to mid-4th century BCE), when Cyrus the Great allowed Jerusalem elites to return to their city after a period of exile in Babylon. Professor Stavrakopoulou explains how the issue of belief vs disbelief is a Christian, confessional notion that cannot be easily retrojected onto the world of the Hebrew bible - a world that was, we discover, animated by debates about the relative power and strength of different divine beings. And she goes on to sketch the polytheistic backdrop to early Judaism with reference to the intriguing storyline of the Book of Job, in which we find Yahweh at a council of deities to test the religious steadfastness of the book's unlucky protagonist....

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #15 - November 06, 2021, 07:01 PM

    Quite an old talk on being an atheist as an academic in religious studies
    On Monday 2nd of March 2015, the University of Exeter Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society (ExeAHS) hosted a hosting a talk by Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou entitled 'When It's Wrong To Be An Atheist'. The talk focused on Francesca's own experience in academia and the media.

    Francesca is a Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion in the University of Exeter's Department of Theology and Religion. The main focus of her research is religion and ideology in the cultures giving rise to the biblical texts. She is also noted for her media roles: presenting a three-part television series on the BBC, 'Bible's Buried Secrets', and for contributions to numerous television and radio documentaries about religion. She also appears regularly on BBC 1’s flagship religion and ethics debate programmes The Big Questions and Sunday Morning Live. She describes herself as "an atheist with huge respect for religion" and regards her work as "a branch of history like any other”.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #16 - November 06, 2021, 07:04 PM

    The Bible's Buried Secrets episode 1
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #17 - November 06, 2021, 08:20 PM

    Episode 2:

    Episode 3:
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #18 - November 07, 2021, 05:27 PM

    “Once upon a time, in the book of Genesis, humans were made in the visual image and likeness of God. It was a social, as well as a corporeal correspondence, celebrating both the fleshly wonders of the human body and the personable presence of the deity.” So says Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou. She has written a fascinating volume, scholarly and hugely entertaining, exploring the ancient conception of the god of the bible, focussing on his corporeality and presence in his followers’ lives.

    Professor Stavrakopoulou is, herself, also entertaining and engaging and we have a high old time discussing her book, which illuminates our understanding of the Jewish and Christian bibles, and, inter alia, it just might put the cat among the theological pigeons.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #19 - November 18, 2021, 04:32 PM
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #20 - February 10, 2022, 12:28 PM

    Francesca Stavrakopoulou on Mythvision
    The scholarship of theology and religion teaches us that the God of the Bible was without a body, only revealing himself in the Old Testament in words mysteriously uttered through his prophets, and in the New Testament in the body of Christ. The portrayal of God as corporeal and masculine is seen as merely metaphorical, figurative, or poetic. But, in this revelatory study, Francesca Stavrakopoulou presents a vividly corporeal image of God: a human-shaped deity who walks and talks and weeps and laughs, who eats, sleeps, feels, and breathes, and who is undeniably male.

    Here is a portrait — arrived at through the author's close examination of and research into the Bible — of a god in ancient myths and rituals who was a product of a particular society, at a particular time, made in the image of the people who lived then, shaped by their own circumstances and experience of the world. From head to toe — and every part of the body in between — this is a god of stunning surprise and complexity, one we have never encountered before.

  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #21 - February 11, 2022, 03:04 PM
  • God: An Anatomy by Francesca Stavrakopoulou
     Reply #22 - February 11, 2022, 06:03 PM

    I  would like Francesca to note there is better god in the animal kingdom

     such as those chimps and tortoise than these  faith heads and stupid religious doctrine that is spewed in to human brain by these brainless preachers of faiths,...

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »