Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Theology of the Old Testament: Cultural Memory, Communication, and Being Human

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

A Theology of the Old Testament: Cultural Memory, Communication, and Being Human

Article excerpt

A Theology of the Old Testament: Cultural Memory, Communication, and Being Human. By JoKn W. Rogerson. Minneapolis, Minn,·. Fortress Press, 2010. ? + 214 pp. $29.00 (paper).

Theologies of the Old Testament abound, but most address issues such as the role of divine revelation and the development of Israelite religion, or posit some overarching theme, then trace it throughout the biblical text in an attempt to tie the books together. Instead of rehashing what has already been done, John W. Rogersons Old Testament theology looks at the role of cultural memory, communication, and humanness in the Old Testament. He takes this approach so that he can show a general authence how the Old Testament addresses important issues confronting the world today, as well as build a bridge into the Old Testament for believers and nonbelievers alike.

Rogerson divides his book into six chapters and an introduction, which provides an excellent overview of the history of the development of Old Testament theologies. The introduction is highly readable and offers beginning students important information needed to delve into the book. In chapter I1 Rogerson outlines his approach to Old Testament theology, which he largely takes from anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. Rogerson divides the Old Testament into "cold" narratives, that is, narratives that maintain the status quo, and "hot" narratives, or narratives that challenge the status quo. Rogerson argues that modern readers can leam the most from "hot" narratives because they seek societal change. This insightful approach helps readers to understand that the biblical text often calls for change. However, Rogerson assumes two things: that the biblical text is historically unreliable, and that it is solely the work of people. Thus, he reduces the biblical text to social critique (or not, if it is a "cold" narrative) from a particular group of people, rather than allowing it to speak as divine Scripture, as the original authence would have likely understood it. …

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