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Posted October 28, 2012
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.
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Posted October 28, 2009
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