Telling the Old Testament Story
While honoring the historical context and literary diversity of the Old Testament, Telling the Old Testament Story is a thematic reading that construes the OT as a complex but coherent narrative. Unlike standard, introductory textbooks that only cover basic backgroundand...
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While honoring the historical context and literary diversity of the Old Testament, Telling the Old Testament Story is a thematic reading that construes the OT as a complex but coherent narrative. Unlike standard, introductory textbooks that only cover basic backgroundand interpretive issues for each Old Testament book, this introductioncombines a thematic approach with careful exegetical attention torepresentative biblical texts, ultimately telling the macro-level story,while drawing out the multiple nuances present within different textsand traditions.
The book works from the Protestant canonical arrangement of the OldTestament, which understands the story of the Old Testament as the storyof God and God's relationship with all creation in love andredemption-a story that joins the New Testament to the Old. Within thisbroader story, the Old Testament presents the specific story of God andGod's relationship with Israel as the people called, created, and formedto be God's covenant partner and instrument within creation.
The Old Testament begins by introducing God's mission in Genesis. Thestory opens with the portrait of God's good, intended creation ofright-relationships (Gen 1-2) and the subsequent distortion of that goodcreation as a result of humanity's rebellion (Gen 3-11). Genesis 12 andfollowing introduce God's commitment to restore creation back to theright-relationships and divine intentions with which it began. Comingout of God's new covenant engagement with creation in Gen 9, this divinepurpose begins with the calling of a people (who turn out to be themanifold descendants of Abraham and Sarah) to be God's instrument ofblessing for all creation and thus to reverse the curse brought on bysin. The diverse traditions that comprise the remainder of thePentateuch then combine to portray the creation and formation of Israelas a people prepared to be God's instrument of restoration and blessing.As the subsequent Old Testament books portray Israel's life in the landand journey into and out of exile, the reader encounters complexperspectives on Israel's attempts to understand who God is, who they areas God's people, and how, therefore, they ought to live out theiridentity as God's people within God's mission in the world. The finalprophetic books that conclude the Protestant Old Testament ultimatelygive the story of God's mission and people an open-ended quality,suggesting that God's mission for God's people continues and leadingChristian readers to consider the New Testament's story of the Church asan extension and expansion of the broader story of God introduced inthe Old Testament.
The main methodological perspective that informs the book includes workon the phenomenological function of narrative (especially story'sfunction to shape the identity and practice of the reader), as well asmore recent so-called "missional" approaches to reading Christianscripture. Canonical criticism provides the primary means for relatingthe distinctive voices within the Old Testament texts that still honorthe particularity and diversity of the discrete compositions.
Accessibly written, this book invites readers to enter imaginativelyinto the biblical story and find the Old Testament's lively andenduring implications.
Brad E. Kelle (Ph.D Emory University) is professor of Old Testament at Point Loma Nazarene University. His books include Hosea 2: Metaphor and Rhetoric in Historical Perspective (Academia Biblica. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature Press); Israelfds Prophets and Israelfds Past: Essays on the Relationship of Prophetic Texts andIsraelite History in Honor of John H. Hayes Co-edited with Megan Moore (T&T Clark/ Eerdmans 2011); The Wise Shepherd: Biblical and Theological Resources for the Pastoral Task (Edited book. San Diego: Point Loma Press, 2006); Ancient Israel at War. Essential Histories. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, forthcoming); and Ezekiel (Beacon Bible Commentary. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, forthcoming)