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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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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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Christians Reading the Old Testament

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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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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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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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