The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us

The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us

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by Douglas A. Knight, Amy-Jill Levine
     
 

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What the Bible Really Says About Politics, Sex, Creation, Suffering, and More

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Overview

What the Bible Really Says About Politics, Sex, Creation, Suffering, and More

Editorial Reviews

John Shelby Spong
“Amy-Jill Levine and Douglas A. Knight have combined to write a book on the Bible that is as academically brilliant as it is marvelously entertaining. By placing our scriptures into their original Jewish context they have opened up startling and profound new insights. This is a terrific book.”
Walter Brueggemann
“A winsome, accessible introduction to the theological thought of the Hebrew Bible. This sort of irenic, thoughtful linkage of criticism and interpretation within a confessing tradition is exactly what we most need in Scripture reading.”
Richard Elliott Friedman
“From its superb introduction to its perfectly worded conclusion, this book does it all. Whether your interest in the Bible is historical or literary, specific texts or broad themes, this book has it—and conveys its relevance for today. ”
Peter J. Paris
“Provides new knowledge on the Bible’s rich diversity of teaching on sexuality, familial and ethnic discord, political corruption, religious infidelity, economic exploitation as well as the nature of God, faith, love, and social justice. It is both enlightening and inspiring.”
William Brosend
“A book we have needed for years - learned and accessible, clearly organized by the topics readers care about, and fully engaged with current discussions of deep and broad significance.”
Dianne Bergant
“If anyone thinks the fruit of biblical scholarship is esoteric and heavy reading, direct that person to this book. In it, Knight and Levine demonstrate both their scholarly proficiency and their expertise as seasoned educators. This book should appeal to a broad audience.”
Carol J. Dempsey
“Knight and Levine have done a marvelous job of taking very sophisticated material and presenting it in an illuminating and thoroughly engaging way that bespeaks of excellent scholarship by two distinguished teachers.”
Booklist
“More than random facts about the Hebrew Bible . . . more than a historical overview . . . [t]hey are aiming for true understanding of the life, culture, and practices of the ancient Israelites.”
Publishers Weekly
This is a smart book by two seasoned professors of Jewish studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Knight, also a professor of Hebrew Bible, is the author of many books and articles, and Levine (The Misunderstood Jew), also a professor of New Testament, do not follow the tired model of trying to retell the Bible for modern application. Instead, they organize the book to cover background information (history, literary styles and development); themes such as “law and justice”; society, including politics and sexuality; and the roles and writings of biblical prophets and sages. Readers looking for a single interpretation or explanation of individual books may be confused by the authors’ integration of biblical characters, texts, and ancient history into a single section—Ruth’s story, a quote from Micah, and discussion of biblical laws, for example—but this structure addresses such broader questions as the administration of justice in the Bible. Without telling believers how to use their sacred texts, subtitle notwithstanding, the authors help readers think about the Bible in new ways. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Knight (Jewish studies, Vanderbilt Divinity; Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel) and Levine (New Testament & Jewish studies, Vanderbilt Divinity; The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus) here present a topical survey of the Old Testament. In fact, one of the approximately 90 topics the authors cover concerns just what to call this collection of scripture. Other topics include the Exodus, the topography of Southwest Asia (the authors' preferred term for the Middle East), the names of God, the Creation story, and the Diaspora. VERDICT Although often engaging, this relatively short book may have difficulty finding an audience, given its breadth. It spends too little time on any one topic for it to work in an undergraduate introductory course or to appeal to interested lay readers. It provides a taste of various forms of biblical criticism and related disciplines without giving the reader a chance to evaluate these tools. But it presents an entrée into approaching the Old Testament from a critical point of view without necessarily diminishing its text. A highly accessible if overly ambitious survey that is in tune with current scholarship.—James M. Wetherbee, Wingate Univ. Lib., NC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062067739
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
591,122
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.82(h) x 1.26(d)

What People are saying about this

Dianne Bergant
“If anyone thinks the fruit of biblical scholarship is esoteric and heavy reading, direct that person to this book. In it, Knight and Levine demonstrate both their scholarly proficiency and their expertise as seasoned educators. This book should appeal to a broad audience.”
William Brosend
“A book we have needed for years - learned and accessible, clearly organized by the topics readers care about, and fully engaged with current discussions of deep and broad significance.”
John Shelby Spong
“Amy-Jill Levine and Douglas A. Knight have combined to write a book on the Bible that is as academically brilliant as it is marvelously entertaining. By placing our scriptures into their original Jewish context they have opened up startling and profound new insights. This is a terrific book.”
Peter J. Paris
“Provides new knowledge on the Bible’s rich diversity of teaching on sexuality, familial and ethnic discord, political corruption, religious infidelity, economic exploitation as well as the nature of God, faith, love, and social justice. It is both enlightening and inspiring.”
Richard Elliott Friedman
“From its superb introduction to its perfectly worded conclusion, this book does it all. Whether your interest in the Bible is historical or literary, specific texts or broad themes, this book has it—and conveys its relevance for today. ”
Walter Brueggemann
“A winsome, accessible introduction to the theological thought of the Hebrew Bible. This sort of irenic, thoughtful linkage of criticism and interpretation within a confessing tradition is exactly what we most need in Scripture reading.”
Carol J. Dempsey
“Knight and Levine have done a marvelous job of taking very sophisticated material and presenting it in an illuminating and thoroughly engaging way that bespeaks of excellent scholarship by two distinguished teachers.”

Meet the Author

Douglas A. Knight is Drucilla Moore Buffington Professor of Hebrew Bible and professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. Knight is the author of Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel and Rediscovering the Traditions of Israel.

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University and affiliate faculty at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge, UK. Levine is the author of The Misunderstood Jew and served as co-editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament.

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science in Nashville, Tennessee; affiliated professor at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations at Cambridge; and a self-described "Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt." She is the author of The Misunderstood Jew and the editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament.

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