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The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish…

The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old… (edition 2012)

by Douglas A. Knight, Amy-Jill Levine

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Title:The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us
Authors:Douglas A. Knight
Other authors:Amy-Jill Levine
Info:HarperOne (2012), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us by Douglas A. Knight



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Fascinating reading! Definitely a book that will be on my top-10 list this year. It took me forever to get through it, simply because there is so much information. I might have worn out a highlighter on this one.

You may have read Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel by Knight a year ago. I reviewed Levine’s book, The Misunderstood Jew, last year: see http://www.dubiousdisciple.com/2011/09/book-review-the-misunderstood-jew.html These are two very knowledgeable and interesting scholars, who have now collaborated on a new project.

The focus is on the Old Testament (the Jewish scriptures), and the Jewish flavor is evident. Be forewarned: it’s a liberal treatment, perhaps unappreciated by conservative Christians. Be aware also that it doesn’t provide the meaning of the Bible, as if any one such meaning can be discerned from so diverse a collection of writings and opinionated Bible authors. But if the world of the Bible fascinates you—from its political atmosphere, to its social and cultural aspects, to the battle for authority between the northern and southern kingdoms, to the hope and hopelessness of dispersion and captivity—this book won’t disappoint. An incredibly rich history awaits, as you journey into the power struggles between kings and prophets and Deuteronomists, and the religious atmosphere pervading it all. Bible times were certainly not an era of separation between church and state.

In four parts, Knight and Levine discuss the development of the Bible from many different angles, including:

1. Ancient Israel and the settlement of Palestine.

2. Law and Justice in Israel and the Diaspora

3. Respect and understanding of the Divine, including the temple cult.

4. Emerging politics, economy, sexuality, and what it means to be a “chosen people.”

5. Wisdom literature, including the theodicy of Job

Sounds dry, doesn’t it? Not even a little. Knight and Levine may not deliver on their promise to explain the meaning of the Bible, but they certainly bring the Bible alive … and yet reach a melancholy conclusion: the Bible is not a book of answers, but of questions. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Dec 18, 2012 |
"A highly accessible if overly ambitious survey that is in tune with current scholarship."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, James M. Wetherbee (Nov 1, 2011)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061121754, Hardcover)

In this lively and fresh introduction to the scriptures of ancient Israel (what Christians call the Old Testament and Jews call the Tanakh), two preeminent biblical scholars, Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine, combine their passion and expertise to examine not just what the Bible says but what it means. Through their eyes we see anew the Bible’s literary brilliance, moral profundity, historical settings, and implications for our faiths and our future.

Passed down for generations, compiled between 500 and 100 BCE, and finalized around the time of Jesus, the various accounts in the Hebrew Bible took shape under a variety of cultures. Drawing on their extensive biblical scholarship, Knight and Levine explore this diverse history and equip us with the critical tools necessary to understand what the ancient texts originally meant. With long experience in teaching candidates for the ministry as well as undergraduate and graduate students, they also explore the possible meanings the texts hold today for churches, synagogues, and anyone interested in the Bible’s legacy.

Knight and Levine begin with the broader biblical story—its historical context, literary artistry, and geographical setting. They then turn to the major biblical themes with which modern readers continue to wrestle: law and justice, human evil and God’s response, belief and practice, chaos and creation, war and peace, gender and sexuality, politics and economics, practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision. For each topic, they provide both general overviews and specific analyses of select biblical passages, explaining how and why their approaches reveal new insights and offering various strategies for informed interpretation.

Throughout, Knight and Levine inspire us to ask new questions and develop a deeper understanding of one of the greatest collections of literature known to humankind—as illuminating today as it was two thousand years ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

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"The Hebrew Scriptures, or "Old Testament" as Christians call it, has given the world some of the greatest literature known. With this fresh introduction, cutting-edge biblical scholars bring ancient Israel to brilliant Technicolor life. Readers will learn of unlikely heroes and courageous women, royal intrigues and slave rebellions, doubtful prophets and lovesick poets, bloody battles and miraculous triumphs. These retellings will delight observant Jews, faithful Christians, world historians and readers of great literature. Passed down for centuries as spoken stories, compiled around 450 BCE, and finalized probably around the time of Jesus, the various books of the Hebrew Bible took shape under a variety of cultures and time periods, influencing the formation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The authors open our eyes to this diverse history shedding new meaning on well-worn texts. They point out how the Hebrew Bible has continually shaped society, and how our own cultural circumstances influence how we interpret it today. The authors highlight the Biblical themes with which readers continue to wrestle: human evil and God's response; war and peace; law and society; politics and economics; belief and practice; women and sexuality; Israel and the Nations; practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision. As relevant today as it was 2,500 years ago, Knight and Levine will open the reader's eyes to the riches of one of the greatest collections of literature known to humankind"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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