Old Testament

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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What Christmas in “Christian America” tells us about ancient Israel

Posted by PeteEnns on December 22, 2015 in Bible and culture/current events Old Testament 36 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 and some very dumb Christmas specials. OK. Rant over. We all know this, and pointing it out is as insightful as saying that network

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no turning back: 5 insights about the Old Testament from modern biblical scholarship

Posted by PeteEnns on September 23, 2015 in nature of the Bible Old Testament 39 Comments

These 5 insights overlap a bit, but here they are. (1) The Old Testament is an ancient Near Eastern phenomenon. A rather obvious point, perhaps, but worth putting at the top of the list. Nothing has changed our understanding of the Old Testament more dramatically than what we have learned over the past 150 years or so

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when God stops making sense (or, my favorite part of the Old Testament)

Posted by PeteEnns on August 6, 2015 in Christian faith and life doubt Old Testament 77 Comments

The older I get, the more I like–really like–Psalms and the wisdom books, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Genesis through Nehemiah tell a story, a story of Israel, from Adam** to the return from Babylonian exile. And the story–though deep, complex, and worthy of far more than a Tweet-sized summary–goes something like this: God formed a people of his own, delivered them

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7 problems with a recent evangelical defense of the historicity of Genesis 1-11

Posted by PeteEnns on May 26, 2015 in book notes and reviews Evangelicalism Old Testament 168 Comments

Zondervan’s latest volume in their popular “Counterpoints” series concerns the historicity of Genesis 1-11, Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters. The three well-known contributors are James Hoffmeier (Trinity International University), Kent Sparks (Eastern University), and Gordan Wenham (Trinity College and University of Gloucestershire). The editor, Charles Halton, summarizes the differences between them: Professor

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Did the Exodus Happen? How “Historical Evidence” Might or Might Not Help

Posted by PeteEnns on April 10, 2015 in book notes and reviews defending the faith Old Testament 15 Comments

by Jared Byas Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article (by Joshua Berman) suggesting the biblical exodus might have its root in an historical event. This isn’t exactly new, but what interested me was the primary reason given— the biblical text seems to be appropriating some Ramesses II propaganda (discovered early in the 20th century)

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Does the Old Testament predict Easter? (No. Actually, it does more.)

Posted by PeteEnns on April 6, 2015 in nature of the Bible New Testament Old Testament 25 Comments

In my course on Genesis this spring at Eastern, we are reading an article by Gary Anderson (Notre Dame), “Joseph and the Passion of Our Lord” (pp. 198-215 in The Art of Reading Scripture). It’s a perfect fit for my class, not only because the article coincides with the Lent/Easter season but because it models how

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reviewing two reviews of “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” (3)

Posted by PeteEnns on February 20, 2015 in book notes and reviews Old Testament 20 Comments

The recently released documentary “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” attempts to redirect the modern scholarly discussion of the historicity of the exodus by revealing evidence that mainstream scholars “don’t want the world to see–because it could cause them to shift their long-held positions.” The stated justification for the film, however, is not so much scholarly as it

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