Between Malachi and Matthew

I remember as a child coming across the term the “intertestamental period” in a study Bible my parents owned. I remember I was intrigued by the brief history of developments after the events of the Old Testament leading into the New Testament. Unfortunately, the study Bible did not make much of it when it actually got to the New Testament and this is the attitude most Christians take. In the following interview on OnScript podcast, Bible scholar Matthias Henze discusses why this period is absolutely crucial for understanding the New Testament based on his book Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old Testament and the New Testaments Help us Understand Jesus (Fortress Press, 2018.)

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Some thoughts on “The Prophetic Imagination”

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””

Religious compromise in ancient Israel

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.

Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament

Baal - The Canaanite God of Rain

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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Myth in the Bible

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.

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Art and Biblical Poetry

In the video below Dr Tim Mackie, a Bible scholar and co-founder of The Bible Project, a crowd funded Christian animation studio whose wonderful videos I feature quite regularly, explores how biblical poetry can powerfully inform and motivate the work of Christian creatives.

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Identifying Ourselves

In the New Testament the Church gave itself all sorts of names like believers, saints, disciples, brothers and sisters while it identified outsiders as unbelievers, sinners and ungodly. Where do these designations come from, what do they say about the Church and those outside it, and how should it shape the way the Church thinks about itself and outsiders today?

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Political Theology

Dr. Tim Mackie, an Old Testament scholar and co-creator of The Bible Project, in the video below offers a brief overview of the Bible’s vision of politics in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament. Continue reading “Political Theology”