The Prophetic Imagination by renowned Old Testament scholar and theologian Walter Brueggemann is a modern theological classic. Continue reading “Some thoughts on “The Prophetic Imagination””
Any person familiar with the Hebrew Bible would recognize the Israelite propensity towards idolatry is the main plot conflict driving the entire narrative. What many people do not recognize is that it wasn’t that Israel was completely rejecting their God but rather they were comfortably worshipping other gods along side him. This is known as syncretism, where you combine different cultures and religions into one. Old Testament professor Claude Mariottini in the following series gives a summary history of religious syncretism in ancient Israel.
Image: Baal, The Canaanite God of Rain
Syncretism is the merger of different, and at times, contradictory religious practices, faith, and beliefs in order to reconcile different religious traditions found within a community and in order to find unity between competitive views.
Syncretism in the Old Testament involves Israel’s absorption of Canaanite religious practices into the religion of Yahweh. Syncretism arose in Israel because Israel did not practice its religion in insolation, detached from its Canaanite neighbors.
When Israel conquered the land of Canaan, the books of Joshua and Judges say that the Canaanites cities were not destroyed. Rather, many Canaanite cities were left unconquered and, as a result, the Canaanites lived among the people of Israel.
Abraham and his family came from a culture where syncretism was a fact of life: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and…
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Dr. A Chadwick Thornhill, a New Testament scholar, in the video below surveys how Jews of the second Temple period, which includes the New Testament church, thought about who the people of God are.
In the following presentation Hebrew Bible scholar Peter Machinist explores current views on whether it is appropriate to charactize things in the Bible as myth.
It’s been nearly 2000 years but Saul of Tarsus remains an influential yet highly contested figure. Within New Testament scholarship, particularly in the Protestant world, there is still fervent disputation on what he really said as evidenced by the fairly recent debates between the so-called “Old Perspective” and “New Perspective(s) on Paul” regarding justification. The Old Perspective represents the mainstream Protestant position on justification and they contend that it is at the heart of Paul’s theology. The New Perspective challenges the traditional Protestant view of justification. They think it is important but they strongly argue it is not the centre of Paul’s thinking.
Before I get into what I mean by “pop theology” some ground work needs to be laid.