Making Sense of the Hebrew Bible
Understanding the Hebrew Bible has never been easy. Even great scholars have had to be content with understanding only bits and pieces of it. The main reason was the lack of hard evidence about Israel's history. Without such evidence, one...
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Understanding the Hebrew Bible has never been easy. Even great scholars have had to be content with understanding only bits and pieces of it. The main reason was the lack of hard evidence about Israel's history. Without such evidence, one could only guess about why and when a text was written, and if one couldn't really explain even one text, how could one explain the whole collection? Thanks to recent archaeology, however, it is now possible to paint a factually reliable history of Israel and make strong connections between texts and actual events. These connections, in turn, permit one to see structure where previously none was visible. This book is an attempt to offer a concise and, I hope, understandable response to questions that students and parishioners have been asking me for years, such as: Does the Hebrew Bible have a structure? What imagery and motifs form that structure? What is the dominant theology of that structure? Are there competing theologies? How do the most important texts relate to Israel's history? Is Israel's real history different from biblical accounts? Does the Hebrew Bible's structure continue into the New Testament, and if it does, so what? ""Trained in Old Testament studies and matured by years of service in the Christian mission field, Bob Butterfield holds that Christians today should focus on the important task at hand, which is to love God by caring for the environment, defending human dignity, correcting injustice, communicating with God, working for peace, and in general repairing the damage that sin has caused to the created world. Readers of his book will experience an exciting trip through both testaments in the Christian canon."" --Ralph W. Klein, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago The Rev. Robert A. Butterfield, PhD (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1986), taught in Chicago-area colleges, served United Church of Christ congregations in Illinois and Iowa, taught in an ecumenical institute in Brazil, and spent 2010-2015 teaching, preaching, and writing in Portugal for the Presbyterian Church (USA). His long-time interest in the structure of texts dates from graduate study at the University of Chicago in French literary criticism.