Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence

Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence

by Tremper III Longman

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For many people, skeptics and believers alike, the Old Testament is rife with controversial passages and events that make both belief and sharing our beliefs with others difficult. Often our solutions have tended toward the extremes--ignore problem passages and pretend they don't matter or obsess over them and treat them as though they are the only thing that matters.

Now with clarity of purpose and fidelity to the message and spirit of Scripture as a whole, Tremper Longman confronts pressing questions of concern to modern audiences, particularly young people in the church:

- the creation/evolution debate
- God-ordained violence
- the historicity of people, places, and events
- human sexuality

Pastors, leaders in the church, and thoughtful and troubled Christians in the pews will find here a well-reasoned and faithful approach to dealing with the Old Testament passages so many find challenging or disconcerting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493416301
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/02/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 244,826
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he was the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies for nineteen years before his retirement. Before Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for eighteen years. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

1 Creation and Evolution: Are the Bible and Science in Conflict? 1

How Do We Interpret the Bible? 4

What Is Genesis 1-3 Teaching Us? 25

Excursus: Creation from Nothing? 48

Excursus: Does Genesis 1:29-30 Undermine Evolution? 54

Evolution and the Historical Adam and Eve 60

Excursus: Critiquing a Last-Gasp Effort to Undo Evolutionary Creationism 73

Conclusion 76

2 History: Did the Exodus and Conquest Happen, and Does It Matter? 79

The Controversy 80

The Question of Genre and History 90

The Historicity of the Exodus and Conquest 92

Excursus: The Dates of the Exodus and the Conquest 103

Conclusion 117

Excursus: Levite Origins of the Exodus? 120

3 Divine Violence: Does God Kill? 123

God's Violence 125

Silencing a God of judgment 144

Excursus: The Walton Thesis: Conquest as an Imposition of Order out of Disorder 172

God's Strategy for Defeating Human and Spiritual Evil 176

Concluding Reflections 195

4 Sexuality: Is Homosexual Practice Affirmed? 207

The Biblical Theology of Sexuality 210

Homosexuality and the Bible 219

Excursus: Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-19:29) and the Levite and His Concubine (Judges 19) 235

Excursus: David and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:26) 237

Responding to Objections 244

Now What? 251

Conclusion 263

Final Word 267

Bibliography 271

Author Index 285

Scripture Index 288

Subject Index 293

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Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
summer_no9 9 months ago
This book was wonderful writing, inspiring, and encouraged to read with that also giving to all the readers who want to have a better choice who and learning more about in the four most popular controversial issues in the Old Testament to help Christian to understand clearly about the message Scripture and focusing on why God has created us, and he never give up on us. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Books Bloggers for this review”.
seekinggraceandgratitude 9 months ago
The basis for Confronting Old Testament Controversies is to address some of the big culture-influence topics that are seeping into the foundational beliefs of Christians worldwide. Longman explains that some individuals within the evangelical scholarly community are arguing for nontraditional interpretations (or new evaluations) of the Old Testament text as a means to conform the Word of God to fit the cultural norm. I agree with Longman that current culture should in no way dictate how we view, interpret and apply the Bible and its principles. He chooses 4 highly debated controversies in the Bible to support the Bible’s validity in a modern world. At the heart of the 4 controversies discussed in this book is the nature of the Bible and the approach in which we take when interpreting it. It is not new news that the Old Testament has some pretty shocking content displayed across its pages. Longman does a great job addressing each of the controversies from many angles and then offers the reader freedom to express their own thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Longman offers a very interesting critique, which I found myself agreeing with, most of the time. He produces many thought-provoking discussions as well as a plethora of research and attention to detail. He knows his stance along with his peers who may contradict his view and belief system. However, I would certainly recommend doing some personal research on your own either before or while reading this book. Longman often refers to other evangelical scholars while stating his personal beliefs and opinions so it’s definitely in the reader’s interest to do some homework. [This is great advice for any book you read – know your author so you can understand the source! You may enjoy a book’s content but then totally disagree with everything the author stands for.] Pros: - Lots of information with resources provided for more in-depth personal study - Discussion questions at the end of each chapter to recap each controversy and encourage the reader to develop and examine their own opinion - Supports the Word of God as alive and well in today’s modern world Cons: - Weighty with research - The critiques can come across as “he said, she said” If you are interested in diving deeper and brushing off the dust of the OT in order to find clarity amongst what appears to be quite shady, then this is a book for you. Undoubtedly, your heart and mind will be challenged, yet your spirit will be strengthened. It may take you a bit of time to read through this book, but it will be worth it in the end. * I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I have only been acquainted with Tremper Longman III from his book How to Read the Psalms. That was a descent book and full of great advice for hermeneutics. This new book falls short of what I had expected. He takes four separate subjects: evolution, the historicity of the exodus and conquest of Joshua, divine violence, and homo sexuality. His chapter on evolution presents his position as a theistic evolutionist. He literally defies every method of sound hermeneutics, considers Genesis 1-11 mythology (though he calls it theological history), reject original sin, inherited sin, replaces a literal Adam and Eve for a group of hominins, lies about the historical views on the topic, reveals his ignorance of biology and other fields of science, and tortures the text beyond recognition. The second chapter defends the historical exodus but denies the nation of Israel as being numbered in the millions, saying it was in the thousands. For the most part of this chapter he takes a conservative view but in so doing, he contradicts his previous chapter’s applied hermeneutics. The third chapter is on divine violence, asking does God act violently against people. His answer is affirmative, which I agree with him but again, reading this chapter and the arguments he makes reveals consistent contradictions of his first chapter. The fourth and final chapter is on homosexuality in which he upholds the traditional conservative position. He seems to present an egalitarian position, but most of the chapter was decent. The problem throughout the entire book was when I agreed with him, he was contradicting his hermeneutic methods in chapter one. His inconsistencies were so numerous, the book was actually irritating to read. He makes some good points but I would never recommend the book. In the last three chapters he interacts with other authors, but the first chapter he avoids any such interaction with authors he disagrees except an extremely brief discussing on the book Theistic Evolution. Im sure this is because he knows his position could hold much weight against others.