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Kamrada's study analyses three narratives concerning the greatest heroic figures of the biblical tradition: Jephthah's daughter, Samson and Saul, and includes a consideration of texts about King David. All three characters are portrayed as the greatest and most typical and exemplary heroes of the heroic era. All three heroes have an exceptionally close relationship with the deity all die a traditionally heroic, tragic death. Kamrada argues that within the Book of Judges and the biblical heroic tradition, Jephthah's daughter and Samson represent the pinnacle of female and male heroism respectively, and that they achieve super-human status by offering their lives to the deity, thus entering the sphere of holiness. Saul's trajectory, by contrast, exemplifies downfall of a great hero in his final, irreversible separation from God, and it also signals the decline of the heroic era. David, however, is shown as an astute hero who founds a lasting dynasty, thus conclusively bringing the heroic era in the Deuteronomistic history to a close.
This guide to Ezra and Nehemiah showcases the latest developments and most up-to-date scholarship on these important texts. Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the people in Yehud in the 6th and the 5th centuries BCE. This was a time of economic hardship. The people living in and around Jerusalem were scratching out a living in a land that had been devastated by war. It was also a time of soul searching. Having lost their political autonomy and national identity, the people in Yehud had to find new ways of understanding and shaping their identity. Ezra and Nehemiah provide glimpses of these issues by way of an assortment of narratives, lists, letters, and other types of records. The readers encounter different voices and different opinions. Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer provides an overview of the various texts and the topics, concerns, and disputes that they reflect. The guide also zooms in on select key issues pertaining to the development of the text, its historical background(s), the quest for identity, and its afterlife in Jewish and Christian traditions.
Nehemiah was a leader who faced opposition and difficulty from every side - even from his own people. Yet he stood against the enemy and trusted God. Although we may never confront our enemies in war, we can learn from Nehemiah's courage and faith as we struggle with the world and its values. This Lifebuilder Bible Study features questions for starting group discussions and for meeting God in personal reflection, together with leader's notes and a "Now or Later" section in each study.
A New York Times Bestseller! In Finding Jesus in the Old Testament, David Limbaugh unlocks the mysteries of the Old Testament and reveals hints of Jesus Christ's arrival through all thirty-nine Old Testament books. The key to the secrets of the Old Testament, Limbaugh argues, is the crucial New Testament encounter between the risen Jesus and two travelers on the road to Emmaus. With that key, and with Limbaugh as a deft guide, readers of Finding Jesus in the Old Testament will come to a startling new understanding of the Old Testament as a clear and powerful heralding of Jesus Christ's arrival. Limbaugh takes readers on a revealing journey from Genesis through Malachi, demonstrating that a consistent message courses through every one of the Old Testament's thirty-nine books: the power, wonder, and everlasting love of Jesus Christ. Previously titled The Emmaus Code
The book of Isaiah has nourished the church throughout the centuries. However, its massive size can be intimidating; its historical setting canseem distant, opaque, varied; its organization and composition can seem disjointed and fragmented; its abundance of terse, poetic language can make its message seem veiled - and where are those explicit prophecies about Christ? These are typical experiences for many who try to read, let alone teach or preach, through Isaiah.Andrew Abernethy's conviction is that thematic points of reference can be of great help in encountering Isaiah and its rich theological message. In view of what the structure of the book of Isaiah aims to emphasize, he employs the concept of 'kingdom' as an entry point for organizing the book's major themes. In many respects, Isaiah provides a people living amidst imperial contexts with a theological interpretation of them in the light of YHWH's past, present and future sovereign reign.Four features of 'kingdom' frame Abernethy's study: God, the King; the lead agents of the King; the realm of the kingdom and the people of the King. While his primary aim is to show how 'kingdom' is fundamental to Isaiah when understood within its Old Testament context, interspersed canonical reflections assist those who are wrestling with how to read Isaiah as Christian Scripture in and for the church.
Are you tired of getting pat answers when you ask hard questions about faith? The writer of Ecclesiastes is not afraid to ask the big questions like "Where can I find fulfillment when I seem to be going in circles?" and "Who is really in control when the world looks topsy-turvy?" In the process, he discovers how faith in God is meaningful in the real world. 12 studies for individuals or groups. This revised Lifebuilder Bible Study in the new revised format features questions for starting group discussions and for meeting God in personal reflection, as well as a new "Now or Later" section in each study.
God never gives up. When we stray or make a mistake, God continues to pursue us with a relentless love. In Hosea's unfailing love for his wayward wife, he lived out the way God loves his people. His story is a reminder that God will never abandon us.The top-selling LifeBuilder Bible Studies have helped millions of people dig deeper into the Bible, individually and in groups.
This book is concerned with ascertaining the value of having two versions of the same monarchic history of Israel within the Hebrew Bible (focusing on the books of Kings and Chronicles). It is furthermore concerned with how the book of Chronicles is read in relation to the book of Kings as Chronicles is so often considered to be a later rewritten text drawing upon an earlier version of the Masoretic Text of Samuel and Kings. The predominant scholarly approach to reading the book of Chronicles is to read it in light of how the Chronicler emended his source texts (additions, omissions, harmonizations). This approach has yielded great success in our understanding of the Chronicler's theology and rhetoric. However, Cook asserts, it has also failed to consider how the book of Chronicles can be read as an autonomous and coherent document. That is, a diachronic approach to reading Chronicles sometimes misses the theological and rhetorical features of the text in its final form. This book shows the great benefit of reading these narratives as autonomous and coherent by using the Solomon narratives as a case study. These narratives are first read individually, and then together, so as to ascertain their uniqueness vis-a-vis one another. Finally, Cook addresses questions related to the concordance of these narratives as well as their purposes within their respective larger literary contexts.
This eagerly anticipated volume is the second installment in H.G.M. Williamson's International Critical Commentary on first Isaiah. For over one hundred years International Critical Commentaries have had a special place among works on the Bible. They bring together all the relevant aids to exegesis - linguistic, textual, archaeological, historical, literary, and theological - to help the reader understand the meaning of the books of the Old and New Testaments. Williamson continues in this tradition, adding to his already published volume on Isaiah 1-5. Covering the next seven chapters of Isaiah Williamson incorporates a range of secondary scholarly material with examination of all the key textual and critical issues surrounding the text.
Roy L. Heller looks at the prophets Elijah and Elisha in the books of Kings charting a two-fold characterization that portrays these prophetic figures in both positive and negative lights. In the narratives of Kings Elijah and Elisha often parallel other prophetic figures from Israel's history: they perform miraculous signs, they speak in the name of God, and they pronounce judgments upon the nation of Israel for its idolatrous worship. There are, however, other stories which have troubled readers and scholars alike: Elijah's cowardly running from the threats of Jezebel, his self-pitying complaint to God that he was the only true Israelite left, and Elisha's cursing a group of little boys who, in turn, are slaughtered by two female bears. Scholars have traditionally ignored or belittled the negative stories of the prophets, seeing them as either late additions to the biblical text or as minor, unimportant stories that can easily be dismissed. Heller, however, argues that the dual characterization of Elijah and Elisha reflects an ambivalent attitude that the narrator of Kings has toward prophecy as a whole, an attitude that is reflected in the book of Deuteronomy itself. This forces readers of the biblical text to pose the question; "how may Israel best know and follow God?" The stories of Elijah and Elisha make the answer clear: the words and lives of the prophets are a possible way for God to reveal how Israel is to live, but those words and lives must always be considered with a degree of suspicion and must always be evaluated in light of the clear and straightforward teaching of Deuteronomy.
Using personal anecdote, a witty and lively style, and drawing on his considerable theological knowledge, John Goldingay takes us deep into the unfolding story of the Old Testament.
The epistle of James was, for years, a forgotten book in academic circles. In recent decades, however, a renewed focus on early Judaism has generated interest in looking at James with new eyes. In this context, different studies, monographs and commentaries have been written. Poverty and wealth in the epistle continues to be a point of interest. Other topics, however, are still to be explored. One of those topics is the rhetorical study of the use of the Old Testament in the book. The present investigation focuses on how James uses the OT in those passages where he deals with poverty and wealth. In particular, it focuses on how he builds his ethics of poverty and wealth.
In many ways, Proverbs is similar to the wisdom literature of the wider Ancient Near East. However, while the book initially appears to consist primarily of practical advice, it demonstrates that wisdom is grounded in a relationship with God. Lindsay Wilson shows how the first nine chapters provide a reading guide for the many proverbs in subsequent chapters; and how the fear of the Lord, choosing wisdom rather than folly, and having our characters formed by good choices are crucial for understanding Proverbs as Christian Scripture and living out our faith in daily life. Part of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series designed to help the reader of the Bible understand what the text says and what it means.
Davies outlines the composition and date of Numbers, and the various attempts that have been made to establish a coherent and meaningful structure in its arrangement. Davies also shows how the application of reader-response criticism, feminist criticism and postcolonial criticism have contributed to our understanding of selected passages in the book. Addressing theological issues, Davies considers three themes that occupy much of the content of Numbers, namely; land, purity and holiness, and rebellion. The concluding chapter considers the contentious issue of the historicity of the book of Numbers in the light of recent discussions concerning the historical value of the Old Testament. Davies shows how some of the issues Numbers raises - war, disease, survival, hunger, race relations - are among the perennial problems faced by nations across the centuries and across cultures. While individual passages within Numbers may reflect a questionable sense of morality, Davies demonstrates that the book, when viewed in its totality, encompasses a number of important theological themes which recur throughout the Old Testament: the interplay of forgiveness and judgment, and of sin and punishment, and the need to trust in the power of God rather than human might.
In the light of dramatic new interpretative approaches to the Bible this guide to Job follows not only a range of new approaches to the text but also addresses the traditional historical questions and other topical issues. Dell particularly highlights the problem of genre in understanding Job. She shows how problematic the term `wisdom' is for this unique book, and argues that its radical sentiments earn it, rather, the title of `parody'. Of all the biblical books it comes closest to tragedy, raising profound questions about its nature and place in the biblical canon. Job's relationship to its ancient Near Eastern counterparts, notably in ancient Mesopotamia, are also closely examined and key theological themes that characterize the book are explored. Finally different approaches - feminist, liberationist, ecological and psychological - are outlined so as to illuminate and inform our own personal readings and generate ever fresh understandings of this enigmatic text.
David Janzen argues that the Book of Chronicles is a document with a political message as well as a theological one and moreover, that the book's politics explain its theology. The author of Chronicles was part of a 4th century B.C.E. group within the post-exilic Judean community that hoped to see the Davidides restored to power, and he or she composed this work to promote a restoration of this house to the position of a client monarchy within the Persian Empire. Once this is understood as the political motivation for the work's composition, the reasons behind the Chronicler's particular alterations to source material and emphasis of certain issues becomes clear. The doctrine of immediate retribution, the role of `all Israel' at important junctures in Judah's past, the promotion of Levitical status and authority, the virtual joint reign of David and Solomon, and the decision to begin the narrative with Saul's death can all be explained as ways in which the Chronicler tries to assure the 4th century assembly that a change in local government to Davidic client rule would benefit them. It is not necessary to argue that Chronicles is either pro-Davidic or pro-Levitical; it is both, and the attention Chronicles pays to the Levites is done in the service of winning over a group within the temple personnel to the pro-Davidic cause, just as many of its other features were designed to appeal to other interest groups within the assembly.
Reimagining Hagar illustrates that while interpretations of Hagar as Black are not frequent within the entire history of her interpretation, such interpretations are part of strategies to emphasize elements of Hagar's story in order to associate or disassociate her from particular groups. It considers how interpreters engage markers of difference, including gender, ethnicity, status and their intersections in their portrayals of Hagar. Nysaha Junior offers a reception history that examines interpretations of Hagar with a focus on interpretations of Hagar as a Black woman. Reception history within biblical studies considers the use, impact, and influence of biblical texts and looks at a necessarily small number of points within the long history of the transmission of biblical texts. This volume covers a limited selection of interpretations over time that is not intended to be a representative sample of interpretations of Hagar. It is beyond the scope of this book to offer a comprehensive collection of interpretations of Hagar throughout the history of biblical interpretation or in popular culture. Junior argues for the African presence in biblical texts; identifies and responds to White supremacist interpretations; offers cultural-historical interpretation that attends to the history of biblical interpretation within Black communities; and provides ideological criticism that uses the African-American context as a reading strategy. Reimagining Hagar offers a history of interpretation, but also expands beyond interpretation among Black communities to consider how various interpreters have identified Hagar as Black.
Jubilees--so called because of its concern with marking forty-nine-year periods (or "jubilees") in Israel`s history--is an ancient rewriting of Genesis and the first part of Exodus from the point of view of an anonymous second-century BCE Jewish author. Its distinctive perspective-as well as its apparent popularity at Qumran-make it particularly important for any reconstruction of early Judaism. James C. VanderKam, the world`s foremost authority on Jubilees, offers a new translation based on his own critical editions of all the available textual evidence, including the Hebrew fragments preserved at Qumran (which he first published in Discoveries in the Judean Desert, vol. 13), as well as the first full running commentary on the book in the English language. Jubilees approaches the book as a rewriting of scripture but also as a literary work in its own right. The commentary explains the text and the teachings of the author with comprehensive coverage of the modern scholarship devoted to them. The introduction sets the book in its second-century BCE context, traces its sources in the Bible and in other early Jewish texts, and describes its influence on Jewish and Christian writers.
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