Noah’s Ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, the parting of the Red Sea. These are a few of the stories from the Old Testament. And then there’s the New Testament, with its account of the life of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, the raising of Lazarus and the feeding of the five thousand. Whatever our creed or background, these stories are embedded in our consciousness. They inform our everyday speech and much of our art, music and literature – from Cranach’s depiction of Adam and Eve to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories and Stormzy’s ‘Blinded By Your Grace’.
Together the Old Testament and the New Testament make up the Holy Bible. The Old Testament contains the sacred scriptures of the Jewish faith, while Christianity draws on both Old and New Testaments, interpreting the New Testament as the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old.
But which of these books is the greater? In this special Intelligence Squared event, we are bringing together cultural and religious experts to debate the merits of each. Which has the stronger moral message? Does the New Testament’s ‘turn the other cheek’ trump the Old Testament’s ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’? And which book has had the greater influence? Is it the Old Testament, which first established a monotheistic God who laid down the moral law through the Ten Commandments? (The ancient Greek and Roman gods needed propitiating but gave no moral instruction.) Or is it the New Testament, the basis of Christianity, which set out to universalise God’s message?
And which book makes for a better read? Is it the Old Testament, with its stories about the travails of the Jewish people, its tales of violence, sex and power? Or the New Testament, which describes a gentle, compassionate man who associates with the poor, downtrodden and outcast, who is betrayed, disowned and ultimately sacrificed for the sake of all humanity?
Join us on Wednesday 12th June, hear the arguments and decide for yourself.
To be announced.
Speakers are subject to change.