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The Concept of Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective
From The Publisher:
In this tour de force, a premier Old Testament scholar provides the reader with a grand overview of biblical theology: tracing the developments, critiquing the major contributions (e.g., Gese, Childs, Brueggemann), and providing his own provocative analysis, Barr reaches to the core of the philosophical and theological implications of the various constructions. In his usual bold manner, he examines the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic contexts of biblical theology and their implications for our reading of both testaments in the modern world. Some of the key issues Barr addresses are typologies for doing biblical theology and Old Testament theology, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the history of religions versus theological approaches, and the Biblical Theology Movement.
Barr's exemplary volume articulates the criteria by which any future biblical theology must be gauged. It will be welcomed by scholars, students, clergy, and all who are concerned for how the biblical witness can inform, guide, and inspire religious readers today.
Biblical theology is contested territory: Is it legitimate to reflect theologically on such a diverse collection as the Bible, or even on one testament? Do theologians inevitably "christianize" the Hebrew bible? Does such an enterprise ride roughly over painstaking exegetical and historical work? And how can it relate to theological themes, such as creation and revelation, and to church life?
In this clearest and most comprehensive analysis of biblical theology to date, James Barr, an esteemed Oid Testament scholar and for thirty years a central figure in these debates, assesses the possibility, problems, and prospects of this oft-endangered discipline. He not only sketches the origins of modern biblical theology and its major types, he addresses fairly its relation to doctinal theology, religious studies, natural theology, and proclamation. Of special concern to Barr is how Jewish theologians use the bible and how well newer efforts, since 1970---especially story theology and canonical approaches---meet the test of an authentic and much-needed appropriation of the biblical text.
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About the Author
James Barr is Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible Emeritus at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, where he taught for ten years. His illustrious teaching career has also included professorships at Edinburgh University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Manchester University, and Oxford University. He has held visiting professorships and delivered major lecture series in Europe, the United States, Africa, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand, and was longtime editor of the Journal of Semitic Studies.
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