Old Testament

What Christmas in “Christian America” tells us about how ancient Israelites worshiped God

Posted by PeteEnns on December 12, 2016 in Bible and culture/current events Old Testament 15 Comments

Christmas in America is a national holiday woven into a secular liturgical year, with little authentic religious significance for many/most of those who celebrate it. It’s commercialized nonsense, a vehicle for reaching quarterly profit margins. Christmas means malls, car commercials, and some very dumb Christmas specials. OK, rant over. We all know this, and pointing it out is as insightful

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reading Genesis like adults

Posted by PeteEnns on July 18, 2016 in nature of the Bible Old Testament 50 Comments

Over a hundred years ago, German-and-therefore-evil-and-easily-dismissible-Old-Testament-scholar Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932), the dapper gentleman pictured to the left, wrote the following about Genesis: A child, indeed, unable to distinguish between reality and poetry, loses something when it is told that its dearest stories are “not true.” But the modern theologian should be further developed. The evangelical churches

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“people are just dying all over the place”—reading the Old Testament historical books

Posted by PeteEnns on January 6, 2016 in Old Testament violence of God 44 Comments

This semester I’ll be teaching a course on the Old Testament “historical books”—Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah. (I cover Chronicles as part of my Biblical Hermeneutics class under “midrash.”) As I always do for my biblical canon courses, I read through that portion of the Bible during

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5 real reasons why writers write (ancient and modern)

Posted by PeteEnns on December 28, 2015 in Old Testament writing and publishing 5 Comments

I just finished reading Christopher Rollston’s latest book, Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel, wherein he makes the case (among several related cases) that literacy in ancient Israel was almost exclusively confined to an elite, educated class, and not something that your average Jacob and Rachel Israelite could handle. It’s a wonderfully informative book, but—although non-technical—still presumes

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