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Name my Bible podcast
March 17, 2014 11:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about starting up a podcast. It would be, for the most part, deep interpretations of Biblical texts from a critical but appreciative point of view. What should I call it?

For example: one of the early episodes would cover Genesis 1, and whereas a evangelical might say "this is literal science and must be believed as such," and an antagonistic reader might say "this is obviously a variant of other ancient myths and therefore a worthless fairy tale," (forgive the broad strokes, please!), I am aiming more toward "this is a variant of other ancient myths, but here are the cool ways that Genesis reshapes the story, and here's what would have captivated the ancient listeners when they heard this version." I'm not a scholar, but I am familiar with the scholarship, and I basically want to present something accessible but erudite. For listeners from conservative church backgrounds, I hope to add new layers of meaning to familiar stories. For nonreligious listeners, I hope to given them a deeper appreciation of what makes the Bible a interesting and valuable literary collection. I don't know of anything quite like this out there right now, and I think it is a niche worth filling.

I expect that basic format--extended explanation of specific Biblical texts--to be at least 80% of the episodes, although I want to leave room for wider ranging interviews with scholars (most episodes will be just me and a microphone), as well occasional episodes on themes in the Bible.

I pretty much know what I want to do; what I'm not settled on is what to call it. What would you name a podcast like this? I want it to get the point across quickly, with bonus points for sounding appealing or interesting.
posted by Pater Aletheias to Grab Bag (58 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pater's Bible Podcast
Beyond Sunday School

When you do it, I will want to listen to it.
posted by bunderful at 11:33 AM on March 17


The Bible for Geeks.

Yeah, me too.
posted by goethean at 11:34 AM on March 17 [3 favorites]


Getting the Good Book
The Word of God in the Language of Men or The Wog-Lom
posted by carsonb at 11:36 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Let There Be Light
posted by ubiquity at 11:36 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Holy Podcast! Literary Readings, Spiritual Meanings
Reading in the Spirit, a Bible Podcast
The Word's Journey
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:37 AM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Exegecast

(Also, yeah, plz contact me when it is ready because that sounds awesome.)
posted by griphus at 11:48 AM on March 17 [4 favorites]


Let he who is without sin podcast the first stone
posted by thelonius at 11:52 AM on March 17 [2 favorites]


The Wholly Bible Podcast
posted by jbickers at 11:52 AM on March 17 [5 favorites]


I'd probably call it Refracting the Bible, but I imagine that would turn most people off. But I too would be interested! (Recently finished Kugel's How to Read the Bible, which did similar things and which I found fascinating.)
posted by languagehat at 11:58 AM on March 17


I would listen to it, too, absolutely.

Logos Reexamined
Scripturefilter
posted by fancyoats at 12:06 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


HEARasy
posted by matty at 12:15 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Bible Babble
posted by pearlybob at 12:27 PM on March 17


exejesus
posted by bruce at 12:27 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Etymology of the Word
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 12:32 PM on March 17


snark of the covenant
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:32 PM on March 17 [4 favorites]


BibleInsight

Wisdom Lit

Bible Then and Now [drawing from Krister Stendahl: what the Bible meant then; what the Bible means now; you might get some ideas from his essay, Why I Love the Bible]

New Wineskins
posted by apartment dweller at 12:33 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


holy writ! or canon's roar
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:49 PM on March 17


Re-tellings: New Stories of the Word
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:50 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


I like Beyond Sunday School.

And I'd love to listen when it comes out.
posted by kathrynm at 12:54 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


The Bye, Bull Podcast
posted by at at 12:54 PM on March 17


hella gnostic
posted by fallacy of the beard at 1:01 PM on March 17


This is really helpful--keep them coming! For those interested in checking the podcast out, I'm anticipating June-ish launch. I want to get seven or eight recorded ahead of time so I can work out the bugs and have a backlog for when my schedule gets busy. This is new territory for me.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:03 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


The Godcast
Bible Schooled
posted by mikepop at 1:16 PM on March 17


The Opened Bible
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:19 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Chapter and Verse
posted by mikepop at 1:19 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


The Learnèd Bible: Deep Interpretations of Biblical Texts from a Critical but Appreciative Point of View

You may want to leave off the accent grave when writing it out, but pronounce it "learn-ED" whenever you say the name.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:28 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


re-verse engineering
posted by fallacy of the beard at 1:41 PM on March 17


Divined Inspirations.

And I fully expect a projects post when you go live. Your contributions on topics that involve religion are some of the best stuff on mefi, and I definitely want more!
posted by bfranklin at 1:59 PM on March 17


The Word.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:07 PM on March 17


The Greatest Podcast Ever Told
Podcast Thy Bread Upon The Waters
posted by XMLicious at 2:10 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Building on (or taking away from) what Thelonius said, above, I think The First Stone would be a cool name.
posted by Alaska Jack at 2:56 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Something about cultural context? Maybe "The Bible and its Time"?

This is going from your example above. To get to a really good title, though, I'd need to know more about your personal focus. What makes you want to do this? What fascinates you about this material? What do you want to achieve? Why is it worth it to you to invest the time in this?

Answering these questions, and maybe some others, would probably lead to some distillation and some good key words.

I'd shy away from puns on the Bible and podcasting; if you're hoping to reach non-believers, then focusing on the way you're thinking and the extra-biblical material you're incorporating might be more intriguing.
posted by amtho at 3:40 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


To get to a really good title, though, I'd need to know more about your personal focus. What makes you want to do this? What fascinates you about this material? What do you want to achieve? Why is it worth it to you to invest the time in this?

Short answer: I grew up as a little evangelicalish* Bible nerd in a tiny, tiny Christian subsect that emphasized deep engagement with the Bible. We get together, we open our Bible and start dissecting/discussing. Grew up, got a bachelor's in Biblical Studies. Starting reading the Bible more critically found that it wasn't really what I had always been told it was. The seams and tensions started jumping out at me. It was a much more human book that I expected. I got really frustrated with it and became an atheist. Even skipped my graduation ceremony. Who wants a degree in useless myths?

A few years later, started re-engaging with the Bible from a critical perspective. Became interested in faith again, although a very different kind of faith. Wound up going to (and graduating from seminary) and had a career in ministry before departing, for a variety of reasons. But through the whole thing I had a change in perspective and the stuff that I used to hate about the Bible became the stuff I loved about it. It tends to offer stories with multiple possible interpretations, not easy answers. It lets different versions of the same event sit side by side without trying to reconcile them. Or it retells the same story multiple ways for different audiences. And it includes plenty of human foibles and failings, some of which have influenced the final form of the text. You can clearly see the editorial process in places. And I love that stuff. It's a much deeper, richer, more ambiguous, more interesting book than the stiff collection of pure divine wisdom I was told it was.

Fundies won't acknowledge those things, because they think it undermines Biblical authority. Atheists emphasize all those things, to try to undermine Biblical authority. I emphasize those things because that's what brings the Bible to life for me; what makes it worthwhile.

I think I'm not alone. I know other people who would like to have this critical but appreciative perspective on the Bible and there's just not much out there for them. I can point them to some scholars, but there's not a lot of popular-level stuff, definitely not in a story-by-story form, and not in the podcasting world. I think this would be fun to do; it's what I spend all my spare time thinking about anyway; and I hope it reaches an audience. It's a productive channel for the email/in person thoughts and conversations I'm having anyway. If someone else were already on this, I might not do it. But there's a hole in the conversation and that hole happens to be right where I live all the time.

*Evangelical isn't exactly right, but close enough.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:08 PM on March 17 [9 favorites]


Perhaps a riff on an older work?

The Well Wrought Word: Studies in the Stories of the Bible
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:25 PM on March 17


Myth Represented
posted by to recite so charmingly at 4:28 PM on March 17


The Word Made Fresh
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:39 PM on March 17 [9 favorites]


Touring the Ancient Texts
Berean Book Club
Romancing the Scrolls
posted by waterlily at 4:44 PM on March 17


Christ, what a podcast!
posted by vrakatar at 5:02 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


The philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:18 PM on March 17


The Human Bible
A Book
posted by Tom-B at 5:57 PM on March 17


You're definitely not alone :)

I keep thinking of the words folded (your references to layers/the same story told multiple ways), texture, people, seeing people through the Bible, history, context, Bible as window, lens...


Here are some imperfect ideas. None of these are my favorite, but maybe they'll give you ideas:
posted by amtho at 6:50 PM on March 17


Tolle Lege!
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:13 PM on March 17


Should the title allude the tone of the podcast? Is this a super-serious academic treatment? Humorous? Irreverent? Conversational? Didactic?

I too would listen to this in an instant.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:35 PM on March 17


Yeah, the title should be indicative of the tone. I'd call it narrative more than anything else. The academic stuff is there, but woven in gently. Not a lecture; more of a story about a story. Something like "The Memory Palace," but not nearly so mellow. Large focus on the circumstances of the original writers and listeners. Kind of like (and this is off the cuff and on my phone):

"Imagine yourself living 8000 years ago in the ancient near East. There's no such thing as science yet; no astronomy, no biology, no geology. There isn't really any history yet, either, not in the way we think of it, as objective reporting based on evidence and reliable testimony. But there are stories. A modern person would perhaps call them myths, but you don't think of them that way. They are the only conduit for truth that you know. Well, there's also ritual and tradition, but those are just other ways to tell stories.

"No matter where in the ancient near East you are: Sumeria, Egypt, the tribes that will become the Philistines or the Hebrews, there are certain things your stories agree on. The earth is built on an immovable foundation, and stands unshakable in its place. Surrounding it, both below and beside, are the ancient waters, an untamable chaos, home to monsters and storms. Above you is a hard dome, which you call sky, and above that is more water. From time to time holes are opened in the dome, and the celestial waters pour down as rain. A great light, the sun, moves along its path in the dome each day, and a lesser light, the moon, follows at night. They are not so very far away, somewhere just beyond the mountains, barely out of reach.

"You also know that long ago the gods (or, in one version, a god) created all of this, including vegetation, wildlife, and humans. The only part of this that anyone really disagrees about is why. And that's where things get interesting...."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:02 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


With that, I think I would stay away from titles that use "bible" or "god" or "Jesus" or any pun using those. "Bible Talk" or "Jesus Reconsidered" makes it sound too theological or evangelical. And it sounds like you are treating the subject with more seriousness than a snarky title like Casting Stones would suggest. I like something slightly fanciful that alludes to the study of capital H History. "Romancing the Scrolls" comes close. I'll give it more thought.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:18 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


The Prophets Must Be Crazy
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:21 PM on March 17


Refiguring the Bible

(I'm inspired by the title of a cool set of essays by Paul Ricoeur on biblical hermeneutics: Figuring the Sacred -- which would be up your alley, actually.)
posted by bertran at 12:02 AM on March 18


Please do this. There's not much out there right now. (And please let us know when it's up and started -- I'd like to listen in! Maybe put a note in this AskMe as well as in Projects?)

I don't have a name recommendation, but I do think you ought to put these paragraphs somewhere on the page that hosts your podcast files, because they are awesome and compelling:
...The stuff that I used to hate about the Bible became the stuff I loved about it. It tends to offer stories with multiple possible interpretations, not easy answers. It lets different versions of the same event sit side by side without trying to reconcile them. Or it retells the same story multiple ways for different audiences. And it includes plenty of human foibles and failings, some of which have influenced the final form of the text. You can clearly see the editorial process in places. And I love that stuff. It's a much deeper, richer, more ambiguous, more interesting book than the stiff collection of pure divine wisdom I was told it was.

Fundies won't acknowledge those things, because they think it undermines Biblical authority. Atheists emphasize all those things, to try to undermine Biblical authority. I emphasize those things because that's what brings the Bible to life for me; what makes it worthwhile.

posted by Houstonian at 3:54 AM on March 18


When God Was Science
posted by pracowity at 4:04 AM on March 18


The Bible's Messages: the Literary and the Literal; the Truth and the Facts.
posted by klarck at 5:44 AM on March 18


  • Multitude of Words
  • Bible Perspectives
  • No Easy Answers
  • Ambiguous Revelations
  • Cognizing the Book
  • Biblionized
  • Humble Hermes

  • posted by mbrock at 6:56 AM on March 18


    * The Bible in Context
    * Contextualizing the Bible
    * The Bible In Its Natural Environment
    * Hebrew Folk Tales
    * Hebrew Fairy Tales
    * The Hebrew Wikipedia
    * The Hebrew Internet
    * Ancient Near Eastern Reality Shows
    posted by goethean at 9:16 AM on March 18


    Stories about the Bible
    posted by amtho at 6:53 PM on March 18


    The Human Bible

    Not this as there's already a podcast with this name that looks at the problems in the bible from skeptical/atheist point of view.

    I'd also like to hear. Post it to projects when you're ready.
    posted by nooneyouknow at 7:38 PM on March 18


    BackStory (though that is the name of a Virginia-based American history podcast underwritten by the Virginia Endowment for the Humanities; still, the audience may be different enough that some variant might work)

    Wondering [or: Wandering] Through Time

    Shared Wonder

    You could keep what you wrote above as an ongoing spoken intro to your podcast, with the actual podcast title then being something derived from Genesis like: Under the Dome or Well-Watered Ground or Fertile Ground or Opened Eyes. I personally like the language of the Everett Fox translation of The Five Books of Moses--there might be some more ideas there.

    I realize that what you've written above is a springboard, and that of course you won't be limiting yourself to ANE myths of origin--but since the framework of the Genesis narrative is so well known, repeating the philosophy of the podcast each episode might serve as an entry point to people who have no background in biblical studies to some of the less well known topics you would discuss).

    This list of names of biblical studies blogs and podcasts might also generate some ideas.
    posted by apartment dweller at 9:41 PM on March 18


    Since this is a way to bring modern people closer to the people who wrote, lived, and otherwise are connected to the Bible and biblical times, maybe the podcast title could use the names of those people, either individuals or groups. Something like:


    Sumerians, Samarians, Rabbis, Slaves, and Followers:
    Connecting with the people of history through the Bible
    posted by amtho at 11:30 PM on March 18


    Riffing on that, maybe as a subtitle:

    Sumerians, Samarians, And Occasionally Conan the Cimmerian
    posted by XMLicious at 7:23 AM on March 19


    I appreciate all of you who took time to offer a suggestion. I'm not quite settled on a choice, but "Beyond Sunday School" jumped out at me from the very beginning, and I think I am likely to go with that or something very close to it. Thanks, everyone!
    posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:33 PM on March 25


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