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The Psalms lie at the heart of Jewish and Christian worship. For thousands of years people in despair and praise have cried to God through the words of these ancient poems. Fragments of them are still widely known and loved, but such is the gulf between their ancient culture and our contemporary world that much of the depth of their meaning is lost to us. Life in the Psalms aims to bridge that gulf, enabling the modern reader to find hope in these ancient texts by re-imagining their meanings for our times. The Psalms include texts that illuminate issues including climate change and environmental degradation; the illusions of consumerism and `celebrity culture'; our response to migrants and asylum seekers; conditions of depression, anxiety, and grief, and the question of `attention' in a digital age. Many texts take us deeply into the experience of meditation and contemplation; and teach us how to wonder, and find happiness. Three introductory chapters are followed by reflections on thirty Psalms (one for each weekday of Lent), which aim to illuminate the text and help those in search of a more contemplative spirituality to discover, in the midst of the hard realities of a secular twenty-first century world, a deep consciousness of the healing mystery of God.
Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication
Was he the sleek-and-trim, funloving animated man in "The Prince of Egypt" or the handsome, strong-hearted, superstar played by Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments"?
The most likely answer is "neither." The Bible gives a much more accurate picture of the Moses God used in such remarkable ways, Charles Swindoll paints a portrait of the biblical Moses in this fascinating look into the heart and mind of "Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication."
Swindoll gives us straight facts based squarely on the truth revealed in God's Word. He also fills in the fine-line details of Moses' life with emotion and feeling, because Moses, like all of us, was a human being with faults and frailties. And finally, Swindoll helps us apply the lessons of Moses' life to our own daily dilemmas.
When you face your personal Red Sea test, will you be prepared? Your decision to go forward in life instead of retreating will be bolstered by your having studied the real Moses of the Bible―the Moses who tried to decline his assignment from God; the Moses who dazzled Pharaoh; the Moses who received the Ten Commandments; the Moses who was sometimes disobedient and weak; the Moses who was the greatest leader of God's people in all of history; the Moses of faith and selfless dedication to his God.
Gunkel's classic work of 1917 is a systematic investigation of the Old Testament in the light of the then emerging principles of folktale scholarship; he makes use, for example, not only of the contributions of the Grimm brothers but is aware of the research into classifications of tale types represented by the ground-breaking work of A. Aarne in 1910 and subsequently.
The Pentateuch (or the Torah) consists of the first five books of the Bible and is a foundational scripture for millions of people, both Jews and Christians. In this book Paula Gooder and Brad Anderson provide a clear and accessible introduction for those beginning Bible study. Key themes such as creation and the flood, exodus and liberation, as well as covenant and law are presented and analyzed. These themes are explored in their ancient context and from the standpoint of contemporary concerns such as liberation theology, gender issues and ecology. For this new edition introductory sections on the five books of the Pentateuch have been expanded and supplemented, while recent developments in the quest for the origins of the Pentateuch have also been updated. A new chapter on academic approaches to the study of the Pentateuch has been added, along with a section on the 'afterlife' of the Pentateuch which focuses on its place in the history of interpretation, as well as in the arts and culture. Reading lists and references have been updated throughout to take account of the most recent scholarship.
Scholarly study of Samuel continues to wrestle with how we interpret this pivotal text. Even such basic matters as the question of what kind of literature it is remain unresolved while older questions such as the nature of its text and sources are debated anew in the light of material from Qumran and of current approaches to Hebrew narrative. Recognizing the importance of questions such as these, David Firth explores and introduces fresh ways of reading Samuel as a unified and yet complex text, which displays high levels both of literary artistry and of theological commitment. Although some stories in the books of Samuel are well known, and in the case of David and Goliath even proverbial, much of the content of these books is strange to modern readers. It is a story about a woman wanting a child, for example, that relates the beginnings of monarchy within Israel. Even the question of the monarchy is problematic, for we are introduced to not one royal family but two-those of Saul and David. David is ultimately shown to be the king chosen by God, yet by the end of the book he is only just managing to hold on to the kingdom as it is nearly torn from him by rivalries within his family. These arresting stories are perplexing, for Samuel's writers seldom tell us how to read and interpret them. Firth presents these complex and fascinating stories as part of a bigger picture, enabling students to chart their way through the literary and historical issues of the Samuel narrative. Firth addresses issues of historicity, sources, date and authorship, as well as -- crucially -- appreciating the text as a literary whole.
This volume explores multiple dimensions of prophetic texts and their violent rhetoric, providing a rich and engaging discussion of violent images not only in prophetic texts and in ancient Near Eastern art but also in modern film and receptions of prophetic texts. The volume addresses questions that are at once ancient and distressingly-modern: What do violent images do to us? Do they encourage violent behavior and/or provide an alternative to actual violence? How do depictions of violence define boundaries between and within communities? What readers can and should readers make of the disturbing rhetoric of violent prophets? Contributors include Corrine Carvahlo, Cynthia Chapman, Chris Franke, Bob Haak, Mary Mills, Julia O'Brien, Kathleen O'Connor, Carolyn Sharp, Yvonne Sherwood, and Daniel Smith-Christopher.
So resounding is its message that echoes of the Exodus are heard throughout the Old and New Testaments and the present. Exodus names and terms permeate our biblical and liturgical vocabularies: Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, burning bush, I AM," plagues, Passover, manna, Ten Commandments, forty days and forty nights, Ark of the Covenant. The Exodus experience, indeed, is central to both Jewish and Christian traditions. Exodus is, as Mark Smith reminds us, not only an ancient text but also "today's story, calling readers to work against oppression and to participate in a covenant relationship with one another and God." With Smith as their experienced guide, readers are able to march through this basic book of the Bible with textual difficulties solved and stacked up like a wall to their right and left, just as the Israelites "marched on dry land through the midst of the sea with the water like a wall to their right and to their left" (14:29). Undoubtedly, when finished, readers will be closer to the Promised Land than when they started.
"Mark S. Smith is Skirbal Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. He has served as visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Smith was elected vice president of the Catholic Biblical Association in 2009.""
This volume examines the stories of Genesis in music, showing how musical settings can illuminate many of the Bible's most noted tales. Helen Leneman studies oratorios, operas and songs (as well as their librettos) to shed light on how Genesis has been understood and experienced over time. Examining an extensive range of musical settings of stories from the book of Genesis, Leneman offers an overview of chiefly 19th and 20th century musical engagements with this biblical text. Leneman first discusses how Eve's inner thoughts are explored by noted French composers Jules Massenet and Gabriel Faure. The text then enters the deep waters of Noah's flood in examination of several compositions, including two unusual settings by Igor Stravinsky and Benjamin Britten, as well as more conventional settings by Saint-Saens and Donizetti. Two major 19th century oratorio settings of Abraham's story by lesserknown German composers Martin Blumner and Karl Mangold provide fascinating illuminations of the Abraham narratives, whereas parts of Rebecca's story are found in works by Cesar Franck, Ferdinand Hiller, and most unusually, by a French woman composer, Celanie Carissan. Finally, Leneman shows how Joseph's story was set in numerous oratorios (including by Handel) but that one of the most important works based on his story is an opera by 18th century French composer Etienne Mehul. In addition to discussing these larger 19th century works, Leneman also examines several interesting atonal 20th century works based on the stories of Eve and the Flood, shedding new light on the history of the interpretation of the Book of Genesis.
The first in a major new series of guides to the books of the Old Testament written in an accessible and anecdotal style. The series is suitable for personal or group use and the format is also appropriate for daily study. This series offers a natural progression from the successful 'For Everyone' series of New Testament translations and commentaries.
History and Hope examines the rhetorical function of Isaiah 28-35, a relatively overlooked series of six woe oracles, in relation to reading the book of Isaiah as a whole. These eight chapters rely on the language of agrarian wisdom to transport the reader from prior reflections on historical destruction into a vision of ultimate hope. Stulac's study, therefore, offers new insight into the book of Isaiah, but perhaps more importantly, it does so through two methodological innovations that promise to enhance biblical research at large. First, History and Hope develops an interpretive strategy based on ancient Israel's agro-ecological past. Through comparisons to the thought and practice of several contemporary agrarian thinkers (such as Wendell Berry), it draws attention to the holistic, traditional worldview of the people who created the Bible and develops an "agrarian hermeneutic" that is then used to examine the book of Isaiah. This interpretive strategy, which introduces a variety of observations consistent with ancient Israel's subsistence culture, offers a new lens on the Bible that is historically and phenomenologically appropriate to its premodern character. Second, the study applies modern narratology to the book of Isaiah in its final form, a move that allows for a careful delineation of the differences in knowledge that stand between the book's characters and its implied reader. When combined with an agrarian hermeneutic, narratological precision opens understanding of Isaiah's written rhetoric to the associative, soil-bound logic by which it is constructed. In the past, many scholars have regarded Isaiah 28-35 as little more than a fragmentary reiteration of ideas already found in prior parts of the book. Now, through exegetical analysis of Isaiah 28-35 from an agrarian perspective, these eight chapters are interpreted as a rhetorical key to the overall book's coherent vision of destruction and hope.
The book begins by exploring a number of signposts in psalms' scholarship which alert us to the value of psalms as a form of prayer. The particular focus is lament psalms, and their potential as a form of prayer for people engaging with distressing experiences in life. What follows, is a discussion of lament as a process and the areas of potential change for someone who uses these psalms for prayer. The final section of the book includes stories of several people who prayed some of these psalms over a period of time. It explores their responses and reflections in an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of praying psalms such as these. The book culminates with a chapter which invites the reader to pray some psalms of distress themselves with notes suggesting an appropriate ritual to follow and some ideas for further exploration. 'David J. Cohen's book, Why, O Lord?, provides a wonderful, comprehensive view of the psalms of lament. It is an encouragement to all Christian traditions to look with fresh eyes on the psalms as prayer, and particularly the psalms of lament, as our suffering, and the suffering of many in our world, needs the language to cry out to God in times of darkness. The psalms express every human emotion and use a strong confidence that we can cry out to God, and that God will hear our suffering, and that transformation is possible. Bringing the psalms of lament into ritual, so aptly described by Cohen, brings a new dimension to worship, both personal and communal. This book is an excellent academic and pastoral addition to our knowledge of the psalms.' Angela McCarthy, lecturer in Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia: National President of the Australian Academy of Liturgy
Abraham gives us an unforgettable portrait of faith. Daniel is a classic example of holiness. And through her willingness to risk her own life, Esther shows us what commitment means. This LifeBuilder explores the lives of these and other Bible characters. Their example helps us live in the present by learning from people of the past. This revised LifeBuilder Bible Study features additional questions for starting group discussions and for meeting God in personal reflection, together with expanded leader's notes and an extra 'Now or Later' section in each study.
It has been hard to categorise and identify the `Wisdom psalms' within the Psalter. Interpreters have produced different lists of wisdom psalms of greatly varying lengths, and individual scholars often change their choices over time. Cheung re-examines the issues at stake in identifying this group of psalms in order to better describe the configuration of this psalmic genre. Past scholarship has failed to settle this issue because of the use of unfit criteria and an ill-understood concept of genre. With the aid of the concepts of `family resemblance' and `prototypes', this book proposes to define `wisdom psalms' as a psalm family which is characterised by a wisdom-oriented constellation of its generic features. Three such features are identified after a fresh assessment of the most typical characteristics of `wisdom literature'. This proposed method is put to test in the extensive study of seven psalms (37, 49, 73, 128, 32, 39, and 19) and the three criteria are verified to be suitable descriptors of the `wisdom psalm' family. Cheung also explores questions related to the wisdom-cult disparity, Joban parallels as wisdom indicators, and the wisdom-orientation of `torah psalms'.
2007 Catholic Press Association Award Winner! The second of seven full-color, page-by-page reproductions from The Saint John's Bible, Psalms engages the eye and ear with five distinct scripts and exquisite illuminations that include digital voice prints of sacred songs from many ethnic and religious traditions. The Book of Psalms or praises is known as the prayer book of the Bible. For centuries, it has been a source of prayer, devotion, and inspiration. Part of the popularity of the Psalms is that they incorporate the entire breadth of human emotion and experience 'joy, fear, anger, love 'al the things we bring to God in our prayer. Visual representations of chants from Benedictine, Native American, Muslim, Taoist and other traditions are the basis for illuminations of the Psalms. The varying pitch of the chants is rendered graphically to provide a motif for the abstract illumination. Every Psalm page features a small gold image that graphically renders the chanting of the monks from Saint John's Abbey. This process of reading of the Psalms is a continuous reminder that the Psalms are to be sacred songs 'and that in such singing God is present. Jackson chose colors to represent different themes, and designs to symbolize the different types of Psalms. He devised a way of weaving the two together that resulted in a unique script, colors and shading. Readers can identify the patterns representing the national history of Israel corresponding with the individual types of Psalms. The way the Psalms appear in The Saint John's Bible provide a way to read our favorite Psalms with new eyes so that we might truly see the Psalms whether they are sung or read poetically. Notes regarding PsalmsIlluminations Donald Jackson is one of the world's leading calligraphers and the artistic director and illuminator of The Saint John's Bible. He is a Senior Illuminator to the Queen of England's Crown Office and is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators. His 30-year retrospective exhibition, Painting with Words, premiered at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in August,1988 and traveled to 13 museums and galleries. The launch of a national museum tour of the The Saint John's Bible began at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2005 where record crowds greeted the inaugural exhibit during its three-month run. The Saint John's Bible will continue its national exhibition tour that includes museums and galleries from throughout the United States and Europe. Learn more about The Saint John's Bible exhibit. "
Veiling Esther, Unveiling Her Story: The Reception of a Biblical Book in Islamic Lands examines the ways in which the Biblical Book of Esther was read, understood, and used in Muslim lands, from ancient to modern times. It focuses on case studies covering works from various periods and regions of the Muslim world, including the Qur'an, pre-modern historical chronicles and literary works, the writings of a nineteenth-century Shia feminist, a twentieth-century Iranian encyclopaedia, and others. These case studies demonstrate that Muslim sources contain valuable materials on Esther, which shed light both on the Esther story itself and on the Muslim peoples and cultures that received it. Adam J. Silverstein argues that Muslim sources preserve important pre-Islamic materials on Esther that have not survived elsewhere, some of which offer answers to ancient questions about Esther, such as the meaning of Haman's epithet in the Greek versions of the story, the reason why Mordecai refused to prostrate before Haman, and the literary context of the 'plot of the eunuchs' to kill the Persian king. Throughout the book, Silverstein shows how each author's cultural and religious background influenced his or her understanding and retelling of the Esther story. In particular, he highlights that Persian Muslims (and Jews) were often forced to reconcile or choose between the conflicting historical narratives provided by their religious and cultural heritages respectively.
There are many academic commentaries, but very few hold to an inerrant view of Scripture as Mentor commentaries do. This series of expositions of Scripture successful refute wilder departures from orthodoxy whilst appreciating and learning from latest theological research. This expanding series includes commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Isaiah is a book of literary, historical, theological and ecclesial riches. Paul R. House contends that Isaiah wrote the whole book during his long ministry. Predicts the coming of the Messiah. Strives to treat Isaiah as a prophetic book, as a work that highlights major themes such as creation, sin in its many manifestations (e.g. covenant breaking), proper ethical behaviour, approaching judgement often described as `the day of Yahweh', and renewal effected by Yahweh's redeeming work. Yahweh displays indomitable determination to redeem in Isaiah. The creator will redeem his people. He will give them a permanent home in a new heavens and earth, a perfect Zion, and a safe place. The redeemed will come from many nations, and they will serve him in their lifetimes and beyond. Sin and death cannot stop this plan. All Yahweh's covenants will be kept, the dead shall rise, justice will prevail, and the Davidic messiah will play the key role in this inexorable victory.
Originally published in 1987 as part of the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series, this commentary by Pieter Verhoef offers a thorough exegesis and exposition of Haggai and Malachi and highlights the ongoing relevance of these prophets' messages for the Christian church. Verhoef elucidates questions of authorship, style, text, structure, historical background, and message and uses structural analysis to argue convincingly for the authenticity, unity, and integrity of both books. Bringing his knowledge of the ancient Near East, the Old Testament, and biblical scholarship to bear in his careful verse-by-verse exposition of the text, Verhoef displays the theological acumen and pastoral sensitivity that have made this commentary a standard resource for students, pastors, and scholars alike.
Distinguished Old Testament scholar Walter Kaiser believes that the Old Testament is sorely neglected today in teaching and preaching, but it is even more neglected when it comes to setting forth the hope that Christians have for the future. Firmly believing that the Old Testament offers important insights into biblical eschatology and the Christian life, he provides guidance for expositing fifteen key Old Testament eschatological passages to preachers, teachers, and Bible students. Each chapter focuses on a single biblical text. Kaiser introduces the topic, examines the issues, notes who has contributed to some of the solutions, and shows how this sets up the text to be exegeted and prepared for exposition.
The relationship of the biblical tradition to golden calf worship seems to be entirely negative. In the Torah and the Book of Kings, harsh criticism is wielded against the golden calf the Israelites made in the wilderness (Exod 32; Deut 9:7-10:11) and the calves erected by Jeroboam ben Nebat (1 Kgs 12:26-33) at Dan and Bethel during his reign over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Hence, the question arises as to whether Jeroboam in truth set up the golden calves in order to buck the postulates of the Israelite religion of his time; that is, was Jeroboam's golden calf really meant to lure Israel into worship of other gods or idolatry? The research into the background and factors which motivated negative attitudes towards the Golden Calf will provide an insight as to when prohibition of images in the Israelite religion became crystallized and how it was indispensable in proclamation of the monotheism of YHWH.
This handbook in the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible series provides students of Hebrew with the translation of Esther paired with an exhaustive word by word morphological analysis of the text. Through careful syntactic and textual investigation, Holmstedt and Screnock bring to life one of the most loved biblical books. Esther enables a linguistic understanding of the Old Testament Hebrew text through solid contextual interpretation.
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