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History and Ideology in the Old Testament: Biblical Studies at the End of a Millennium [Hardcover]

James Barr


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Book Description

March 15 2000 0198269870 978-0198269878
The end of the millennium sees biblical study in a state of transition. The traditional position of historical approaches is widely questioned and 'historical criticism' is regarded as passe. There is a search for approaches literary or sociological that are less tied to history. On the other hand there is a more radical approach to the history of Israel, that sees true history as distinct from the biblical narrative and dependent on sources other than the Bible. Biblical narratives thus express not the actual events but the ideological and religious aspirations of writers in much later times. 'Ideology' has become one of the key words, but is used in very divergent ways. All this is linked with the intellectual movement known as post-modernism. Some connections between post-modernism and theology are suggested by Professor Barr in the final chapter. This book is important because it tries to bring together various threads of these different movements and to state a position from which we may advance into the next millennium.

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Review

`Barr is at once formidably well-informed and remarkably patient and persistent, entertaining even, as he chamfers away at current opinion.' Journal of Theological Studies, vol.52,no.2

`I know of no clearer guide to the present debate on writing the history of Israel, with all its mud-slinging between proponents of different datings of the biblical sources and different approaches to the place of texts and of archaeology: this chapter is essential reading for anyone at all interested in historical reconstruction of ancient Israel.' Theology, 01/11/2001

`His coverage is enviably comprehensive and at the same time accessible to anyone interested in biblical study.' Theology, 01/11/2001

`James Barr is seasoned interpreter of the current scene in biblical studies, and in this book ... he once again provides a trenchant account of contemporary preoccupations.' Theology, 01/11/2001

`There is much here for serious thought to engage with.' The Expository Times, Vol.112, May 2001

`Professor Barr appears to be much more in touch with real life than many biblical scholars, whose researches become increasingly arcane and esoteric. ... There is much here for serious thought to engage with.' The Expository Times May 2001

`The older scholarship may have been dull and pedestrian, but it was solid, he comments. He himself is never dull nor pedestrian.' John Goldingay, Church Times

`If you, like me, are more sympathetic to post-modernism than Professor Barr, then his strictures and his relentless critique may encourage you to think hard before yielding to fashion.' John Goldingay, Church Times

`No one thinks more acutely. No one writes so devastatingly ... It is thus a great delight to have him, in his 70s, applying himself to the state of biblical studies at the turn of the millennium' John Goldingay, Church Times

`Barr ... uses his formidable debating skills and knowlege of the Hebrew bible to examine those post-modern approaches to the Old Testament that set out to unmask its ideological presuppositions and dismiss its value for theology ... Barr does not pull his punches.' Bishop Paul Richardson, C of E Newspaper 27/10/00.

About the Author

James Barr is Emeritus Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford University, and Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
UNDER the terms of the Hensley Henson Bequest, the general subject of the lectures on which this book is based is defined as 'The Appeal to History as an Integral Part of Christian Apologetics'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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