Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fascinating! 'Confronting Old Testament Controversies' - by Tremper Longman III

Cover Art

About the book:

The Old Testament is rife with controversial passages and events that raise questions about its continued significance for today. Often our solutions have tended toward the extremes--ignore problem passages and pretend they don't matter or obsess over them and treat them as though they are the only thing that matters. Now Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman confronts pressing questions of concern to modern audiences, particularly young people in the church:

· the creation/evolution debate
· human sexuality
· the historicity of people, places, and events
· God-ordained violence

Pastors, leaders in the church, and thoughtful and troubled Christians in the pews will find here a well-reasoned and faithful approach to dealing with the Old Testament passages so many find challenging or disconcerting.

My review:

This book was incredibly fascinating!  There were some stances he took that I completely agreed with and some I wasn't sure what I thought.  He explained the different viewpoints of scholars from books they had written and what points he agreed and disagreed with.  I liked the respect he showed for the other scholars while he was pointing out flaws in their arguments.  He said he was friends with many of them and he agreed with them on most things, just not on everything.  He also pointed out that while these were interesting things to think about, salvation was the most important thing.  He also had a deep respect for the Bible as God's Word and treating it as such.

I found the history and divine violence sections the most interesting as I love history and archaeology and found it fascinating that scholars recently have been questioning whether the exodus and conquest even happened.  He also made some great arguments about God's purpose for violence in the Old Testament and pointed out Paul Copan's comment that warfare was about sin, not about ethnicity.  He also admitted that he doesn't have it all worked out himself and still struggles with some parts of the violence aspect.  He looked at the implications for us today on what we believe about the different topics.  There were also some great indexes in the back of the book where you can look up topics by author, subject and Scripture.  I highly recommend this book if you've ever struggled with questions on these topics as this book will make you think and hopefully come to some conclusions!

I received this book from Baker Books.  I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Before coming to Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for eighteen years. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books, including An Introduction to the Old Testament, How to Read Proverbs, The Lost World of the Flood, and commentaries on Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and Daniel.

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