The Old Testament can seem strange, even disturbing, for many Christians. How do we make sense of texts that portray God as wrathful? Why does the Old Testament contain so much violence? What do we do with all of its strange laws and rituals? How do we handle places in the Old Testament where individuals seem to be treated unjustly based on their gender, ethnicity, or social status? Drawing on biblical scholarship and pastoral insights, this course offers strategies for reading and responding to the Old Testament in ways that are both faithful and constructive. Emphasis will be placed on how this sacred text, despite its oddities, can inform Christian life and faith today.
Session 1: What about divine wrath?
Session 2: What about all the violence?
Session 3: What about Israel’s favored status?
Session 4: What about all the contradictions?
Session 5: What about the references to Jesus?
Resources for further study:
- Matthew Schlimm, This Strange and Sacred Scripture
- Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror
- Ellen Davis, Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament
- Marcus Borg, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time
- Luke Timothy Johnson, Scripture and Discernment: Decision Making in the Church