Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament

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In this accessible study, Peter Enns offers an evangelical affirmation of biblical authority that considers questions raised by the nature of the Old Testament text.

Enns looks at three questions raised by biblical scholars that seem to threaten traditional views of Scripture. First, he considers ancient Near Eastern literature that is similar to the Bible. Second, he looks at the theological diversity of the Old Testament. Finally, he considers how New Testament writers used the Old Testament.

Based on his reflections on these contemporary issues, Enns proposes an incarnational model of biblical authority that takes seriously both the divine and human aspects of Scripture. The book includes a useful glossary, which defines technical terms and an annotated bibliography for further reading.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801027307
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/1/2005
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 240,655
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) has served as an adjunct professor at Eastern University and Fuller Theological Seminary and previously taught at Westminster Theological Seminary for fourteen years. He is the author of Poetry and Wisdom, Exodus Retold, and Exodus (in the NIV Application Commentary series).

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Table of Contents

1. Getting Our Bearings
What I Hope to Accomplish in This Book • A Way toward Addressing the Problem: The Incarnational Analogy

2. The Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Literature The Impact of Akkadian Literature • Some Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts • What Exactly Is the Problem? • How Have These Issues Been Handled in the Past? • How Can We Think Differently through These Issues? • How Does This Affect Us?

3. The Old Testament and Theological Diversity
The Problem of Theological Diversity in the Old Testament • Diversity in Wisdom Literature • Diversity in Chronicles • Diversity in Law • God and Diversity • What Does Diversity Tell Us about Scripture?

4. The Old Testament and Its Interpretation in the New Testament
Do New Testament Authors Misuse the Old Testament? • Biblical Interpretation in the Second Temple Period • Apostolic Hermeneutics as a Second Temple Phenomenon: Interpretive Methods • Apostolic Hermeneutics as a Second Temple Phenomenon: Interpretive Traditions • What Makes Apostolic Hermeneutics Unique? • Should We Handle the Old Testament the Way the Apostles Did? • What We Can Learn from Apostolic Hermeneutics

5. The Big Picture
What Is the Bible, and What Are We Supposed to Do with It? • Continuing the Conversation: Learning to Listen

Glossary Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Writings Index of Subjects

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted October 28, 2012

    Old Testament theology using the incarnational analogy

    Peter Enns is an evangelical theology professor. He wrote "Inspiration and Incarnation" is response to questions/debates about Old Testament interpretation especially in light of scientific and archeological discoveries in the past 150 years. Enns moves the focus off of the "debate" and introduces a "discussion."

    This book is intended for a specific audience: evangelicals (theology students/academics) who find it difficult to interpret the Old Testament using conventional or familiar theological approaches, particularly when using a western literal (historical-grammatical) approach. He then introduces the "incarnation analogy:" "How does Scripture's full humanity and full divinity affect what we should expect from Scripture?"

    This book could be a challenge for readers that are not college minded, haven't read through and have a basic understanding of the Bible, and are unaware of scientific discoveries and Middle East archeological discoveries in the last 150 years.

    Enns addresses three common interpretation problems he has encountered as a professor: 1) "The Old Testament & other literature from the ancient world." 2) "Theological diversity in the Old Testament." 3) "The way in which the New Testament authors handle the Old Testament." Some students or evangelicals find that these issues challenge the Bible's "uniqueness," "integrity," and "interpretation" .

    I would have given this books 5 stars, but minus 1 star for several reasons:
    1) This was a difficult read and needed editing especially in Chapter 4 -- could have been more cohesive.
    2) Enns is very ambitious in addressing several interpretation challenges in a limited amount of space (book easily could been another 50-100 pages with more connecting paragraphs and explanations).
    3) I think the book caused some controversy because it was written for the wrong audience. Fundamentalist evangelicals or fundamentalist atheists don't find the Old Testament challenging because they don't understand the "incarnational approach." They don't understand because they insist on using a strictly "literal" approach, and this is why Bible interpretation is incomprehensible for them. Enns should have aimed this book for mainstream Christians, Catholics, etc. who see his approach as common sense or "old hat."

    I highly recommend this book to anyone before they consider going to a theology/divinity school or going into international missions.

    I didn't fit the intended audience of the book but as a Christian I still found it to be extremely helpful. I ordered the "Nook" version and easily highlighted about 1/4 of the book--lots of good information.

    "The problems many of us feel regarding the Bible may have less to do with the Bible itself and more to do with our own preconceptions." Well said.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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