On a whim, I swung by the Campus Center this afternoon to see whether any of the textbooks for my upcoming class had been released, and indeed they had. I’m most excited about this one:

According to Amazon, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by Peter Enns is “an evangelical affirmation of biblical authority that considers questions raised by the nature of the Old Testament text.”

Enns looks at three questions raised by biblical scholars that seem to threaten traditional views of Scripture. First, he considers ancient Near Eastern literature that is similar to the Bible. Second, he looks at the theological diversity of the Old Testament. Finally, he considers how New Testament writers used the Old Testament.

Based on his reflections on these contemporary issues, Enns proposes an incarnational model of biblical authority that takes seriously both the divine and human aspects of Scripture.

Sounds exciting! I’ll have much more to say on this topic in the days and weeks to come, particularly about the alleged conflicts between science and scripture.

The other books for this class:

I have to confess that learning about the Psalms doesn’t automatically appeal to me. Growing up in a church culture, the Psalms are drilled into you seemingly every day, to the point that they lose their meaning. I do identify with a handful of them, but by and large, I avoid them when I’m seeking inspiration from the scriptures.

So it was interesting, given the title and purpose of this blog and my antipathy toward the 150 chapters in the middle of the Bible, to read this excerpted review of Praying the Psalms.:

‘The Psalms just don’t speak to me.’ Anyone who has ever felt this way should read Brueggemann’s book.  . . .  He shows how these ancient prayers can lead us from the disorientation of our chaotic lives into a reorientation of transformation. His treatment of both the post-Holocaust Christian use of these very Jewish prayers and the troublesome call for vengeance is most timely. This book shows how the Psalms can indeed speak to us.” — Dianne Bergant, CSA, author of ‘Preaching the New Lectionary’

Well, I’m willing to give it a shot. Are you with me?


4 thoughts on “Textbooks!”

  1. Enns’ book certainly does sound fascinating. I found what you said about the Psalms interesting because in my own “growing up” experience, apart from maybe 5 “biggies” or the borrowing of lyrics for hymns, I felt like the psalms were never given much attention.

    1. That’s funny. For us, Psalms and Proverbs were the biggies. Proverbs was more practical; 31 chapters means you can match the book to the calendar and do a proverb each morning to open the school day. Not sure why Psalms was so heavily emphasized. Maybe I’ll know better after this class!

  2. Sounds like you’re in for a great semester! I’m not familiar with these particular books, but they’ve got that “reorienting” sound to their titles. Brueggeman especially: you figure there has to be a reason that Christians of so many different traditions have make the daily recitation of the Psalms part of their prayer life for as long as those traditions have been around. And the blurb on Enns just makes incredible sense: if Jesus was fully divine and fully human, isn’t it likely that the Bible is equally “incarnational”? It has seemed so to me since–well, I suppose since I turned 60 or thereabouts. Over the years I’ve come to suspect that most “controversies” in religion, politics, etc. arise when two parties talk past each other rather than with each other, that is, defensively. That’s reactive; we’re speaking out of our fear, and that makes us resistant to the truth in what the other party is telling us. Not a mature attitude, that.

    I wish you well with your studies this fall; I hope you post further comments as you get deeper into them.

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