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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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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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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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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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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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