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The Art of Reading Scripture [Paperback]

By Ellen F. Davis (Editor)
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Item description for The Art of Reading Scripture by Ellen F. Davis...

The difficulty of interpreting the Bible is felt all over today. Is the Bible still authoritative for the faith and practice of the church? If so, in what way? What practices of reading offer the most appropriate approach to understanding Scripture? The church's lack of clarity about these issues has hindered its witness and mission, causing it to speak with an uncertain voice to the challenges of our time. This important book is for a twenty-first-century church that seems to have lost the art of reading the Bible attentively and imaginatively. "The Art of Reading Scripture" is written by a group of eminent scholars and teachers seeking to recover the church's rich heritage of biblical interpretation in a dramatically changed cultural environment. Asking how best to read the Bible in a postmodern context, the contributors together affirm up front "Nine Theses" that provide substantial guidance for the church. The essays and sermons that follow both amplify and model the approach to Scripture outlined in the Nine Theses. Lucidly conceived, carefully written, and shimmering with fresh insights, "The Art of Reading Scripture" proposes a far-reaching revolution in how the Bible is taught in theological seminaries and calls pastors and teachers in the church to rethink their practices of using the Bible.

Publishers Description
A needed lesson in how to read the Bible. In postmodern culture, the Bible has no definite place and the average person has trouble knowing what to make of it. Even many twenty-first-century Christians have difficult seeing the relevance of scripture. This superb volume is for everyone today who has lost the art of reading the Bible attentively and imaginatively. Written by a truly terrific group of scholars and teachers, this book restates with one clear voice the proper approach and goal of reading scripture. Chapters range from theological principles for understanding the Bible to studies of ways the Bible as been interpreted in the past to examples of good exegesis. The book also includes several model sermons on the subject. Above all, this engaging book shows that the Bible is neither a mere historical curiosity nor a therapeutic, self-help manual, but is first and foremost the story of God's gracious rescue of our lost and broken world.

Awards and Recognitions
The Art of Reading Scripture by Ellen F. Davis has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Book of the Year - 2004 Winner - Top 10 category

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.44" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.97"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 2, 2003
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802812694  
ISBN13  9780802812698  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ellen F. Davis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ellen F. Davis is the Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. Her previous books include Wondrous Depth: Preaching the Old Testament and (with Richard B. Hays) The Art of Reading Scripture.

Austin McIver Dennis is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina. He has extensive prior ministry experience and recently earned a ThD degree in homiletics and reconciliation from Duke Divinity School.

Ellen F. Davis currently resides in the state of Connecticut. Ellen F. Davis has an academic affiliation as follows - Duke University, North Carolina.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Art of Reading Scripture?

Better than expected  Sep 7, 2008
From the cover of this book I was really dreading reading it. The collection of essays has turned out to be really quite good. Very unexpected.
breath of fresh air, excellent theological scholarship!  Aug 3, 2008
In an intellectual climate where to be a "Bible scholar" often means to stand in suspicion of the texts under investigation, it is a rare occasion when scholars "come out of the closet" and confess their stance as disciples of Jesus Christ. Postmodernism, feminism, and postcolonial theory are all very important perspectives with which to reveal the ways in which biblical narratives, like any "sacred" texts, can be abused by people seeking power over others. However, when this revealing is the endpoint of exegesis, readers are left wondering why bother with reading the Bible at all, except to consign it to the dust bin of history.

The alternative is all too often an un-critical fundamentalism, wherein the Bible is "preserved" from the critics by an irrational literalism. This stance is, of course, itself a reaction growing out of the Enlightenment and postmodernism, whether such readers are aware of it or not.

In the midst of these extremes comes this wonderful collection of essays by a broadly ecumenical group of scholars. It begins with a series of principles to which the authors ascribe by which the Bible, in their collective view, should be approached. The essays then unpack these principles, not systematically but episodically. Some articles are reflective theory: how to deal with the uncomfortable texts in the Bible; how to read Hebrew Scripture as a Christian without supersessionism, and so forth. Others take specific texts (such as the Akedah, Gen 22; or the story of Joseph) and listen to them within the wider and longer narrative of the Bible.

The result is a rich feast for thought for the Christian who, in the words of Marcus Borg (not represented in this volume), "take the Bible seriously, but not literally." One will not likely agree with all of the passionately argued positions, but formulating one's basis for disagreement is itself a fruitful exercise.

My one criticism is that the authors have not, by and large, taken into account the situation of the church today in the locus imperii: we must read not simply as followers of Jesus in the abstract, but in a particular historical moment in which human Empire threatens the planet with climate change, massive poverty and systemic violence. Quite a few scholars in recent years have been engaging both the challenge of reading the Bible as disciples and also the imperial context of our lives, such as, most recently, Neil Elliott's The Arrogance of Nations: Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire (Paul in Critical Contexts).

But for many ordinary Christians who are seeking a closer knowledge of the Word, that is a second step, after coming to grips with the preliminary issues so ably engaged in these essays. Read it as an act of prayer!

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