My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Review: Engaging the Old Testament: How to Read Biblical Narrative, Poetry, and Prophecy Well

Engaging the Old Testament: How to Read Biblical Narrative, Poetry, and Prophecy Well Engaging the Old Testament: How to Read Biblical Narrative, Poetry, and Prophecy Well by Dominick S. Hernández
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of approaches to reading the Old Testament and all of them have their limits. As a collection of text within a variety of genres and translated from a different language and culture, it is fairly easy to mistake the intended message of the original scribe, especially when you break in down into small pericopes that are divorced of the surrounding context and inserted directly into today’s culture. Engaging the Old Testament goes in the other direction, suggesting a holistic reading of each text in order to recover the original context and message as interpreted by the original audience.

The book begins with instruction on How to read the Old Testament; which is to be humble and open to new interpretations as well as a commitment to reading the whole text as the original redactor intended in order to be how each part interacts with each other. “We cannot dismiss or evade any part of these texts for any reason and are compelled to engage with them as we would the New Testament.” This can be challenging when faced with particularly difficult stories involving violence et al where the temptation to gloss over or even ignore seems counter to the Christian understanding of a Loving God. In other words, there is still an important message in there and the ignored text is important to teasing that out and understanding the whole. The last 2/3rds of the book provides several solid examples of how this works; the only caveat being the presumption or mental framework (aka bias) that would help resolve the intentional tension created by the text and unlock the complete message. For me the key is my understanding of a loving Creator and an intentional plan for reconciling a fallen world to Himself (YMMV).

1. What’s the Old Testament “God” to Do with Me?
2. The Commitment to Really Reading
3. From Talking Tablets to Tabernacle to Today
4. Reading from Today Back to the Text
5. The Confessions of a Close Reader
6. How the Old Testament is Told: Narrative
7. Learning to Love the Law
8. Seeds of Remembrance
9. Redeeming Rahab the Conqueror
10. Why Is the Book of Judges So Weird?
11. Hannah and Ruth: Mothers of the Monarchy
12. King David’s True Legacy
13. Divided Allegiances to Divided Kingdom: The Tragedy of King Solomon
14. How Biblical Poets Wrote Poetry: The Importance of Parallelism
15. How Biblical Poets Wrote Poetry: The Proliferation of Metaphors
16. Metaphors and Retributive Justice in the Poetry of Job
17. How Prophets Prophesy
18. How Engage Poetic Prophecy
19. Who Is Isaiah’s Suffering Servant?

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#EngagingtheOldTestament #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.