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Jonah the Christian

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 8:Layout 15/21/101:19 PMPage 173Jonah the ChristianG r a y d o n F. S n y d e rIf you attend a worship service at any Christian church anywhere in the world, there’s a good chance you’ll see a cross displayed somewhere in a prominent place. Many probably assume the same was true for the first Christians. They might be surprised to discover, however, that the cross does not appear in Christian artwork for around four hundred years. And, they might be surprised to find out that the Jonah story appears far more frequently in earlyChristian art than the cross.So, why was the story of Jonah so important? In early Christian catacomb art no other picture appears as often as that of Jonah.Since no writing reflects what early Christians believed, we accept the art as an indication of what the average believer saw in the story of Jonah. We speak of this as the understanding of local people. For the most part it showed the Christian Jonah absorbed by a pagan society, but then regurgitated into a redeemed Christian existence.

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Suffering in the Book of Job and Psalms

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 9:Layout 15/21/101:20 PMPage 193Suffering in the Book of Job and PsalmsA Study of Our Devotional Response to LossR o b e r t W. N e f fWhile we speculate on the question, “Why do people suffer?” the Hebrew Bible does not spend much time answering this question. It deals more directly on how we respond to suffering and loss.Many of the Psalms and the book of Job explore the voices of those who suffer and how they deal with many of the losses we experience in life—sickness, betrayal, death of family and friends, social collapse, lack of progeny, separation forced by famine, foreign occupation, or financial ruin.A majority of the Psalms and the entire book of Job detail in captivating poetry these voices of pain, anxiety, distrust, lament, and dismay. I often marvel at the honest, forthright complaints raised before God found in the Psalms (hymns of praise are far less frequent). And yet these words from the lips of those who are in pain provide the devotional setting for synagogue and church. I believe this is because suffering is accepted as a part of our shared human existence. Job provides the example of the suffering righteous one who demands the attention and interpretation of each new generation of biblical scholars.

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Real Stuff: The Brethren Bible Part Too and the Heart of the Holiness Code

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter3:Layout 15/21/101:05 PMPage 51Real StuffThe Brethren Bible Part Too and the Heart of the Holiness CodeFrank RamirezAs I prepared for my first day in first grade I wondered how long it would take for us to get past the baby work and start doing the“Real Stuff.” Thanks to a private kindergarten run by a stern headmistress, I was sure that I was way ahead of the learning curve when it came to school.I knew I was ready for the Real Stuff. Still, imagine my surprise when the very first morning the nuns at Holy Trinity School announced we were actually going to the laboratory! Hooray, I cheered within my heart—the Real Stuff! Not out loud, of course.No one wanted a knuckle rap on the very first day. But it was all I could do to contain my excitement. Chemistry! Beakers and bubbling solutions, measuring and pouring, wearing white gowns over our clothes. Real experiments! Spotless white porcelain everywhere.Because we were all so young I knew everything would be oversized, but we would manage. This is what school was supposed to be all about! I would show those nuns just how well prepared I was, thanks to Merri-Moments Kindergarten School and Mrs. Orsini.

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Conflict Transformation and the Jacob Saga

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter2:Layout 15/21/101:07 PMPage 33Conflict Transformation and the Jacob SagaE u g e n e F. R o o pGenesis 12–50 features some of the best-known and well-loved narratives in the Old Testament. These stories do not portray the lives of our biblical ancestors as pious and peaceful. Quite the opposite, these ancestral sagas tell us about lives painfully punctuated by crisis and conflict. To be sure, their parched and rocky land often provided a match that ignited disputes between and within families. Along with the environment, cultural patterns and family structures also served as catalysts generating episodes of conflict.The cultural importance of offspring intensified Abraham andSarah’s struggle with infertility. This provided a catalyst for conflict between husband and wife, and with others in their community.The leadership role of the firstborn inflamed conflict between the twins, Esau and Jacob. According to the narrative, their battle began in the womb and gained steam as the years went by. Each twin sought to be recognized as the most important man in the family. The arrogant-sounding words directed by the younger

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Prefiguring Fulfillment Brethern Approaches to the Old Testament

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 12:Layout 15/21/101:31 PMPage 263Prefiguring FulfillmentBrethren Approaches to the Old TestamentJeffrey A. BachThe Schwarzenau Brethren, who began with the baptism of eight adults in late summer 1708, treasured the Scriptures from their origins. The Old Testament was vitally important to the Brethren, although Brethren have typically read the Old Testament as pointing toward and being fulfilled by the New Testament. This in no way meant that Brethren, who often call themselves a “New Testament church,” commit the Marcionite heresy of discarding theOld Testament.1The following essay explores how Brethren have made important use of the Old Testament through their history up to the early twentieth century. This examination of a sample of Brethren writers will show that Brethren generally valued the Old Testament as inspired Scripture and tended to interpret it typologically, absorbing influences from interpretive trends around them (such as dispensationalism in the nineteenth century). Typological interpretation of the Bible goes back to ancient times and sees commandments and teachings and events in the Old Testament as

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Prophetic Rhetoric and Preaching

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 7:Layout 15/21/101:18 PMPage 151Prophetic Rhetoric and PreachingChristopher D. Bowman“Who in their right mind would presume to speak theWord of God week in and week out?”—Waltersdorff 12Displayed in the Juniata College library is a striking sculpture of the prophet Jeremiah. The pockmarks of decay and damage found throughout the piece are not there by accident nor have they been artificially created. They are there because the sculptor purposefully chose a damaged cherry tree, aged and filled with buckshot, from which to hew the aged and wounded prophet Jeremiah. Describing his work, sculptor Dean Egge emphasized the importance of paying attention to both his audience and the prophet. Once he understood the old subject and the new recipient, the sculptor says,“The search then began for the right log.”1In preaching today, this combination of listening to the original message and knowing the new recipient is essential to finding the right log. This essay pays attention to the rhetoric of the Hebrew

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Justice Talk in the Tanakh (Old Testament)

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 5:Layout 15/21/101:13 PMPage 103Justice-Talk in the Tanakh(Old Testament)Stephen Breck ReidThe contemporary convention in biblical studies is to identify the first testament of the Bible as the Hebrew Bible. This is an interesting case study in matters of power and justice. Professional societies of biblical scholars dominated by Gentiles recognized that the term “Old Testament” was a confessional category. A group of progressive Protestant biblical scholars started to use the term “Hebrew Bible” or “Hebrew Scriptures” to supplant the term Old Testament. This new language was meant to be more inclusive and acceptable to Jewish scholars in the guild. Another group of scholars maintained that the confessional language of the Old Testament was not only tradition but appropriate, if for no other reason because it was the familiar language of “regular readers.”The result from the debate is the hybridized term HebrewBible/Old Testament currently used in scholarly circles. However, this nod to inclusiveness overlooked the recognition that the Jewish community refers to these same books as the Tanakh. Therefore, in addition to the scholarly societies that created the designation

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Daniel: Piety, Politics and Perseverance

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 11:Layout 15/21/101:25 PMPage 239Daniel: Piety, Politics, and PerseveranceD a v i d M . Va l e t aThe book of Daniel presents readers with many interesting conundrums. It is one of the most popular books in the Hebrew Bible, containing stories and images that vividly connect with the human imagination.1 At the same time, the book has spawned countless debates over interpretive issues. The book of Daniel illustrates themes of personal piety in relationship to public witness that Brethren and other Anabaptists wrestle with continually in their attempt to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.2 This essay is a small contribution to the ongoing conversation between this biblical text and the calling of the church to live faithfully in every age.PietyDaniel is one of those biblical figures that you want your childrenChristians generally use the designation Old Testament. The use of the term HebrewBible recognizes that Jewish and Christian communities both value these writings, and my use of this term recognizes the ecumenical and interfaith commitments of Robert W.

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Love and Desire in the Song of Songs

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 10:Layout 15/21/101:23 PMPage 213Love and Desire in the Song of SongsChristina BucherPeople often ask me why I chose to study the Old Testament, rather than the New, when I did my doctoral work. Perhaps viewing “new” as better than “old,” some cannot understand why anyone would want to study the Old Testament. Others will ask why a member of the Church of the Brethren would opt to study the Old Testament.(An oft-repeated claim among Brethren is that “we have no creed but the New Testament.”) I reply that the Christian canon includes two testaments, not one; Jesus’ Scripture was something close to what Christians today call the “Old Testament”; and the New Testament writers presuppose the writings of the Old Testament. In order to really understand Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian history and tradition, one needs a deep understanding of theOld Testament, the collection of books that I prefer to call “FirstTestament,” “Hebrew Scriptures,” or “Tanakh.”I clearly remember what first attracted me to the Hebrew

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Will We Listen? Attending to the Shema in Christian Educations

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 4:Layout 15/21/101:11 PMPage 79Will We Listen?Attending to the Shema in Christian EducationJohn David BowmanPerhaps I was an atypical seven-year-old, but I have a vague recollection of a conversation with one of my parents. The haunting words of “Johnny, will you listen to me?” reverberate deep within, triggering a sense that the question was not really a question but rather a statement of exasperation tinged with demand. I seem to recall the sentence was followed by another, “Johnny, didn’t you hear me?” I’m quite confident my parent was not concerned with the function of my auditory nerves. It was a direct reference to something I did not do. I can’t recall the provoking issues aside from my assumption that I was reluctant to provide a parent’s wish fulfillment. I also suspect it was a repeated offense.“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”1 These are the opening words of an ancient recitation found in the Hebrew Scriptures. You’ll probably recall much of this familiar recitation taken from Deuteronomy 6. Within Judaism, the recitation repeated thrice daily is known as the Shema. The full Shema is comprised of three scriptures (Hertz 769). It is so named because the Hebrew word shema‘, meaning “hear” or “hearken,” begins the first of its three parts.

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Is There Peace in the Old Testament?

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 6:Layout 15/21/101:15 PMPage 125Is There Peace in the Old Testament?David A. LeiterDuring the last decade or so, I have engaged numerous people in conversation regarding the topic of peace in the Old Testament.Although many people of faith acknowledge the connection between peace and the Bible, there is a strong tendency by such persons to see this connection as one that relates primarily to the NewTestament, thus leaving the Old Testament out of the discussion.In personal conversations and in teaching and seminar events,I have received three common responses when talking about peace and the Old Testament. The first response is simply a blank stare.Some people cannot see even the slightest connection between peace and the Old Testament. Using the two in the same sentence does not register to them. Either they have not read the Old Testament carefully or they have been taught and indoctrinated to believe that peace in the Old Testament does not exist. As a result, there is an inability to have even a surface conversation about the notion of peace in the Old Testament.

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Christians Reading the Old Testament

Various Brethren Press PDF

Beg+Chapter 1:Layout 15/21/101:06 PMPage 15Christians Reading the Old TestamentRobert C. BowmanThe ProblemChristians who consider themselves New Testament people often have great difficulties with the Old Testament. What is one to do with that book—or, rather, with that part of the Book?Many elements combine to make the Old Testament difficult.In the first place, parts of it are simply boring. Richard Friedman, author of Who Wrote the Bible? once said that if he ever got to the point where he could read the detailed instructions for building the tabernacle in Exodus without being incredibly bored, he would know that he had finally become a biblical scholar (176).If not boring, at least great chunks of the Old Testament seem irrelevant to Christians. It seems to belong to a world that makes no sense to us. Deuteronomy 22:10 warns, “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” Frankly, most of us cannot remember ever being tempted to disobey this commandment.It does, perhaps, give one a sense of relief to know that there are at least some of God’s commandments that we have not broken.

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Brethren Ordinances and Old Testament Practices

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 13:Layout 15/21/101:32 PMPage 289Brethren Ordinances andOld Testament PracticesDenise D. KetteringShould Brethren eat roasted lamb or beef at love feast? Should congregations use leavened or unleavened bread at communion?Should only elders practice anointing? These questions have plagued Brethren at various points throughout their history. At first glance such questions may appear trivial, and yet they arose again and again at Annual Meeting1 as Brethren congregations tried to develop a unified approach to their church ordinances.Part of the dilemma for Brethren was how to treat the relationship between their ordinances and the Old Testament and its practices. Historically, the Brethren tradition has ordinances, such as baptism and the love feast, that are firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus; however, these practices also reflect ancient Israelite customs and rituals found in the Old Testament. In the Church of the Brethren, it has not always been popular to stress these connections to the Old Testament. As Robert W. Neff stated, “To be an Old Testament-toting Church of the Brethren person was not easy, but I felt I had a calling to make the Old Testament live in the

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