The Wide, Wide Circle of Divine Love: A Biblical Case for Religious Diversity

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The issue of religious pluralism has become a focal point of discussion in our post-9/11 world, and in this book Old Testament scholar W. Eugene March helps us understand this pluralism in the context of current biblical scholarship. March, who was awarded a fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation for his work in this area, hopes this book will bring research and experience together to enable "the understanding and practice of genuine tolerance founded upon a positive appreciation for God's providential gift of religious pluralism."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Making a biblical case for religious diversity is a tall order. But this small, information-packed book, by a retired professor of Old Testament studies at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, delivers. March begins with his own experience, admitting that as he interacted with people of other faiths, some of his "official theology," which denied the validity of other people's faith, "simply did not compute." From there, he takes readers through stories from the Old and New Testaments demonstrating how God's love always creates a wider circle than humans expect. With a conviction that "we belong to God-all of us," March explains why a literal reading of the Bible, ignoring historical context, is misleading and causes some Christians to spend their lives focusing on who is and is not accepted by God. If a hard-and-fast rule is necessary, March suggests living by the "Rule of Love"-love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The final chapter encourages lively conversation-between Christians who differ in theology, with people of other faiths and with those who profess no faith. Doing that, he says, will help everyone better understand "the wideness of God's love." Accessible and academically rock-solid, this book is a must-read for anyone who feels conflicted or troubled by "one way" theologies. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
March (Israel and the Politics of Land) has attempted, in the wake of (although not directly driven by, as he tells us) the 9/11 attacks, to negotiate a new way through devout Christianity and awareness of biblical texts. For March, the Bible offers a God who is "open to all and inviting to all." Not all conservative believers will be convinced by his mild liberalization of the Christian message, but his news is welcome in our fraught and nervous time. For most collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664227081
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 996,991
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Eugene March is A. B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Israel and the Politics of Land and God's Land on Loan, both published by WJK.

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