Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God  -     By: Eric Seibert
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Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God

Fortress Press / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

How should we regard biblical texts that portray God as violent, destructive, or irrational? Do these disturbing images influence our understanding of scriptural authority? Do they undermine our image of God? Offering a discerning reading of the Old Testament, Seibert distinguishes literary and theological goals achieved through narrative characterizations of God. He reveals that we cannot enclose God within our own mindset and hope to understand him.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 260
Vendor: Fortress Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0800663446
ISBN-13: 9780800663445

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Publisher's Description

How should we understand biblical texts where God is depicted as acting irrationally, violently, or destructively? If we distance ourselves from disturbing portrayals of God, how should we understand the authority of Scripture? How does the often wrathful God portrayed in the Old Testament relate to the God of love proclaimed in the New Testament? Is that contrast even accurate? Disturbing Divine Behavior addresses these perennially vexing questions for the student of the Bible. Eric A. Seibert calls for an engaged and discerning reading of the Old Testament that distinguishes the particular literary and theological goals achieved through narrative characterizations of God from the rich understanding of the divine to which the Old Testament as a whole points. Providing illuminating reflections on theological reading as well, this book will be a welcome resource for any readers who puzzle over disturbing representations of God in the Bible.

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  1. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    June 7, 2010
    I purchased this book with the hope that the author would attempt to provide some resolution or explanation of the difficult and seemingly inconsistent descriptions of God's nature in the Bible. I was greatly disappointed that Seibert's ultimate approach is to disregard large portions of Scripture rather than come to grips with the supreme paradox of God's character.The author claims that the Old Testament narrative genre is not at all concerned about historical accuracy, but he offers no examples of narrative literature outside the Old Testament to support this. The result is that Seibert ends up with the conclusion that what we learn about God from Old Testament narratives is merely fortuitous and was not a primary intent of the authors. However, if the Bible does not teach us accurately about God, then what does?Seibert realizes that rejecting the Old Testament is unacceptable, and refers to the heresy of Marcion as an example of someone who refused to accept the God of the Old Testament. Of course, the author disavows any association with Marcion, claiming that "the Old Testament is a rich resource for spiritual and theological reflection." But this is only a shallow platitude after he has already recommended "avoiding" passages that he regards as "distortions" of God. For him the Bible's meaning is subjective, and he does not explain how (or by whom) the Scriptures are to be filtered for truth versus fiction.The bottom line is that this author seems to feel compelled to defend God's credibility with rational ideas about God's character - ideas, by the way, that always conform to the author's preconceived biases against God promoting any sort of violence. And in so doing, he completely disregards the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in either the inspiration or the interpretation of the Bible. The "responsible" discernment that Seibert describes actually promotes an irresponsible attitude toward God and His Word.
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