Experiencing Scripture

Experiencing Scripture: Intimacy with Ancient Text and Modern Faith

Antony F Campbell
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ATF (Australia) Ltd.
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt163t892
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  • Book Info
    Experiencing Scripture
    Book Description:

    This book aims to enable a user to become closely familiar with a limited number of Older Testament texts and so be in a position to form judgments about them and, resulting from that, to have an under- standing of the nature of biblical text itself. Beyond this, the reality that these are key texts for the understanding of the Bible means that they have fundamental impact for the basics of faith today our understanding of ourselves before God, essential to faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Israel's prophets reflect on the role of God in human life; faith in God's love, God's passion for justice, the essential place of fidelity in faith. Israel's foundational narratives explore the nature of human lives before God; they include issues such as creation, human freedom, and faith in God's unshakeable commitment to human life. Alongside these concerns, there is the importance of getting a feel for the nature of scripture.

    eISBN: 978-1-921817-59-5
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. About this book
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. PROLOGUE
    (pp. xv-xxvi)

    Orientation is important whenever we move into new territory. When beginning serious study of the Older Testament, it helps to know where some of nations are, something of the shifts in the wielding of political power, and of course the literary and cultural influences that flowed over the region. Any simplifying involves inevitable simplification; here we necessarily simplify.

    For the lie of the land, a good map is indispensable. Fortunately, there are plenty available. In the north-west corner (top left) of a map of the biblical world is Turkey, its ancient name Anatolia, and in the second millennium seat of...

  5. PART ONE: SAMPLES FROM EARLY PROPHETS
    • CONTEXT
      (pp. 1-21)

      We need to stretch our imaginations to have any kind of feeling for the prophets of ancient Israel. Those who follow the news or watch their televisions today are well aware that modern Israel and the Palestinians (West Bank and Gaza) are not the dominant players in the political cauldron of the Middle East. Neighbouring states are Syria and Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. Forming a belt around these are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. Probably the big players in the cauldron are the United States and Iran, both operating through proxies.

      In the time of ancient Israel, it was...

    • THE ISSUE OF RELIGIOUS INFIDELITY
      (pp. 21-39)

      For an ancient culture’s betrayal of God to have any meaning for us today, we must deal with the question ‘Who is God?’ Who was God for that culture and what was the relationship to God that the people of that culture experienced?

      In many ways, the Pentateuch (whether an early or late production) is an answer to that question, ‘Who is God?’ It is equally an answer to the question, ‘Who is Israel, who are we?’ Imagery may be more important than history. God is the one who brought our ancestors to Canaan, who brought us out of oppression...

    • THE ISSUE OF SOCIAL INJUSTICE
      (pp. 40-59)

      The prophetic condemnation of injustice in Israelite society involves condemnation of a betrayal of God, integral to the betrayal of neighbour that is social injustice. Any study that does not recognise this betrayal-of-God aspect loses a depth dimension in the meaning of the prophetic attitude to injustice. For Amos, the reality of God and the presence of justice in Israelite society are identical. The betrayal of neighbour is the betrayal of God. For Hosea, Israel is God’s beloved. Injustice is a betrayal of that love. For Isaiah, Israel is God’s family. Injustice in the family is unthinkable. For Jeremiah, God...

    • THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION
      (pp. 59-80)

      In my judgement, the prophets’ expression of hope and their prophecies of salvation succeed brilliantly on two counts and fail equally on two counts.

      i. They speak eloquently ofGod: of the inner being and benevolence of God, desirous of peace and justice, longing for blessing for all the families of the earth.

      ii. They speak eloquently ofus: of the need for peace and justice in human society over the face of the earth.

      i. They failGod: they portray the future to be brought about by God in materialist terms that are all too redolent of external wealth...

  6. PART TWO: SAMPLES FROM FOUNDATIONAL NARRATIVE
    • HUMANITY: OUR ORIGIN AND WORTH
      (pp. 81-138)

      The origin and worth of humanity are the subject of reflection by ancient Israel’s theologians in three areas of text: creation, the garden of Eden, and the flood.

      Creation was and is, for them and for us, a realm wrapped in mystery. Israel’s theologians enjoyed the mystery rather than seeking to explain it; they revelled in the freedom that mystery offered them to portray the emergence of their world (and ours) in so many different ways.

      The story of the garden of Eden, so often tragically misunderstood, provided and provides an image of two individuals at the start of it...

    • ISRAEL: THE ANCESTORS AND THEIR EXPERIENCE
      (pp. 139-157)

      When we move from creation and flood to the figures of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then Joseph and Moses, we move from the realm of myth to the realm of legend. Legend is a neutral and useful term because it allows for the association of both history and reality. Its description will usually reflect belief about what may be historical although unverifiable. In that sense, the traditions about certain biblical figures have often been regarded as historically reliable; they have also often been regarded as unverifiable. Legend occupies a middle ground somewhere between fiction and attestable reality. It does not...

    • ISRAEL: THE PEOPLE AND ITS TRADITIONS DELIVERANCE AT THE SEA
      (pp. 158-176)

      Exodus 14, the text of Israel’s deliverance at the Sea of Reeds is very different from either Genesis 12 or Genesis 17. The different genres of Genesis 12 (speech, journey, anecdote) are not present. The sustained divine monologue of Genesis 17 does not recur. Instead, the text is in the form of a report of what happened when the fleeing Israelites were delivered from the pursuing Egyptian force. The paradox has not escaped later rabbis: deliverance for the Israelites means destruction for the Egyptians. In the midst of disturbance, deliverance brings joy; in times of tranquillity, destruction brings pain.

      The...

  7. EPILOGUE ‘GO THINK’: the Bible’s constant invitation
    (pp. 177-182)

    ‘Well, the Bible says’ claim many people still and that is it; case closed. Long experience of the biblical text suggests that the Bible often gives more than one option and does not close a case. A mantra would be: the Bible juxtaposes rather than adjudicates. Juxtaposition does not always mean placement side by side; juxtaposed opposites can be books away from each other. The case of creation is a case in point. Different views are found in Genesis, Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Isaiah, and more. The 7 + 1 examples that follow are simply meant to illustrate this phenomenon in...

  8. APPENDIX GOD AND SUFFERING—IT HAPPENS: Job’s Silent Solution
    (pp. 183-192)
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED
    (pp. 193-196)
  10. Subject Index
    (pp. 197-200)
  11. Biblical Index
    (pp. 201-214)