The Bible in a Disenchanted Age
The Enduring Possibility of Christian Faith
In our increasingly disenchanted age, can we still regard the Bible as God's Word? Why should we consider the Bible trustworthy and dare to believe what it says? In this creative, accessible, and provocative book, leading Old Testament theologian R. W. L. Moberly sets forth his case for regarding the Bible as unlike any other book (and the Bible's Deity as unlike any other deity) by exploring the differences between the Bible and other ancient writings. He explains how and why it makes sense to turn to the Bible with the expectation of finding ultimate truth in it, offering a robust apology for faith in the God of the Bible that's fully engaged with critical scholarship and compatible with modern knowledge.
About the Series
The Theological Explorations for the Church Catholic series is published in conjunction with Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. Leading scholars in biblical studies and systematic theology from a variety of theological traditions offer brief, suggestive treatments of specific topics, exploring the cutting edge of their current interests and latest thinking for the benefit of the whole church.
1. Posing the Problem
2. Approaching the Bible
3. Towards Privileged Perspectives
4. Towards Trust and Truth
Epilogue: Towards Biblical Literacy
"This delightful little book addresses a very large question: How does reading the Bible differ from reading works that are comparable to it in important ways? Scrupulously fair and, in fact, generous to non-Christians (including contemporary skeptics), its author draws on his profound engagement with Christian sources and his immense humanistic learning to probe the challenges and subtleties--and also the rewards--of holding a commitment to a scriptural religion in our time. I highly recommend this thoughtful, sensitive, and stimulating volume. I profited from reading it and so will you!"
Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University
"In this gem of a book, Walter Moberly addresses the difficult question of what it might mean to trust the Bible in an era marked by distrust, particularly when any sort of religious claim is at stake. With his characteristic clarity, candor, breadth of learning, and intellectual generosity, Moberly proves a sure-footed guide through the thicket of challenges to trusting both the Bible and the God to whom it bears witness."
Marianne Meye Thompson, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
"How is reading the Bible not like reading any other book? Moberly elegantly reflects on this question, deftly articulating a distinctive account of biblical interpretation. Challenging the 'evidentialist' approach typically adopted on the right and the left, he instead develops a participatory hermeneutic of trust, in which interpretation is pursued in continuity with religious community and the biblical text is engaged with 'full imaginative seriousness.' This hermeneutic remains hospitable to other approaches and seeks to learn from them. Yet Moberly also invites renewed conversation between academic biblical study and traditional Christian faith and practice."
Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke University
"This book is vintage Moberly: a sensitive reading of a variety of biblical texts that provides the modern reader--whatever his or her theological inclinations--with a compelling argument for taking the message of the Bible seriously. Refreshingly free of glib truisms, it plumbs the depths of biblical religion. Reading this book is a moving experience!"
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame
"Once again, Walter Moberly has put us in his debt with his rare combination of an eye for exegetical detail and a mind to ask (and answer!) the largest and most searching questions about Scripture. Starting with a comparison of Virgil's Aeneid and the book of Daniel, Moberly works outward toward a remarkably holistic vision of how the Bible can be a vehicle of faith in God in our disenchanted world--why one would 'look here,' at Scripture, and not somewhere else. Moberly ultimately counsels both wisdom and discernment, and consistently models those virtues at every turn. He makes a fresh and compelling case for Scripture as the 'lively oracles of God,' to be sure, but does yet still more by uniting the skill of a biblical scholar with the work of a true theologian of the church universal. This book made me want to be a better Christian."
Brent A. Strawn, Emory University
"'You're gonna have to serve somebody,' Bob Dylan famously said. 'You're gonna have to trust somebody or something,' Walter Moberly says. Or rather, you do trust somebody or something: your own ideas or what your culture says. So think--about the way you approach the Bible and about your attitude to the God of the Bible. Reading this book is a rich experience, as you follow Professor Moberly in thinking about what studying the Bible means and what faith means."
John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Walter Moberly's lucidly written book candidly explores the difficulties that those who revere the Bible as Sacred Scripture face in our postmodern context, and he illuminates a path forward by creatively reframing the discussion. Moberly is to be praised for his probing analysis, his theological insight, and especially for the balanced and lively manner in which he engages the Bible's cultured despisers."
Joel S. Kaminsky, Morningstar Family Professor of Jewish Studies, Smith College
"Theological interpreters often 'preach to the choir' and merely reaffirm assumptions held by their adherents. But in this work Walter Moberly not only provides a diagnosis of modern skeptics' disenchantment with the Bible but also offers a much-needed remedy in the form of theologically justified readings of biblical texts. Highly recommended for pastors, theologians, and biblical scholars who seek to teach the Bible as Sacred Scripture."
Bo H. Lim, university chaplain, Seattle Pacific University
"An insightful, wise exegete of scripture, Walter Moberly demonstrates in this book that he is also a widely read historian and brilliant critic of contemporary culture. In the present milieu, when the Bible is no longer a 'privileged lens' through which to view things, Moberly helps readers make sense of how the Bible both is and isn't like other books. In conversation with Augustine, Lesslie Newbigin, Charles Taylor, and many others, Moberly engages in a fresh sort of apologetic--one that is less apologetic than straightforward as it weighs how ancient texts are read and how modern readers can investigate the Bible and find something worthwhile."
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