Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
August 8th, 2017 by Joel Watts

Book Announcement: @UtsDoc’s “Scripture and the Life of God”

I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of this before. This will go into the theological canon of Next Methodism next to works by William Abraham and Kevin Watson.

Entering into the life of God is like walking into the ocean. The further you go, the more immersed you become. You become more aware of its overwhelming power, its vastness and mystery. The difference is that if you walk too deeply into the ocean you will die, but walking deeply into the life of God brings life. Our desires, our character, the way in which we regard ourselves and other people–all of these change. And this newness of life does not end when our physical bodies die, but extends into eternity. The life of God never ends, and you and I are being drawn into that divine life.

In Scripture and the Life of God, David Watson takes us on a journey through what it means to enter into the life of God through texts that God has inspired and made authoritative for the teaching of theChurch. Many of us read the Bible during private devotion time, and this is a very helpful practice, but there are also many other ways to walk down the pathway of Scripture into the divine life. Prayer, meditation, music, corporate worship, and other practices facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit through Scripture in drawing us into the divine life.

There is not one right way to engage the Bible. We should use all the means at our disposal to weave the teachings of Scripture into our lives. The Church has, through the centuries, passed down to us myriad ways in which we can engage Scripture. By availing ourselves of these practices, we can facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, and enter more fully into the life of God.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

7 Responses to “Book Announcement: @UtsDoc’s “Scripture and the Life of God””
  1. I’m still awaiting for you to answer the question as to who wrote Deuteronomy. You never got back to me.

    • lbrkyhw bn nryhw hspr

      • A reasonable assumption…

        Richard Elliott Friedman, “Who Wrote the Bible”, concerning
        the author, or co-author, of Deuteronomy…

        JOSIAH, the culminating hero of the Deuteronomistic history, had died.
        The Deuteronomistic history looked ironic, even foolish, twenty- two years later. The Babylonians had destroyed and exiled Judah. The “eternal” kingdom had ended. The family that would “never be cut off from the throne” was cut off from the throne. The place “where Yahweh causes his name to dwell” was burned down. And the things that were said to exist “to this day” did not exist anymore. What was to be done with the positive, hopeful history book that culminated in Josiah? Someone decided to make a second edition of it.

        Still, in the case of the Deuterono- mistic history, the degree of similarity of Dtr1 and Dtr2 is phenomenal. Further, there is no compelling reason why we should hypothesize the existence of an otherwise unknown “school” when it was perfectly possible and logical for a single person to have done it. The first edition of the history, Dtr1 , had to be written before Josiah died in 609 B.C. The second edition, Dtr2 , had to be written after the Babylonian destruction and exile in 587 B.C. That is only a difference of twenty-two years. One person could easily have been alive and writing from the time of Josiah to the exile.

        He added a curse to the text of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy already contained a horrifying list of curses in the Dtr1 version. This list of consequences of not keeping the covenant is still terrible to read: diseases, madness, blindness, military defeats, destruction of crops and livestock, and starvation to the point that people will eat their own children. The exiled Deuteronomist added references to exile in general, and he added one more specific curse to the end of the list. What is the worst possible thing that could be said to an Israelite as a threat? The last curse of Deuteronomy is:
        And Yahweh will send you back to Egypt… in the road that I had told you that you would never see again; and you will sell yourselves there to your enemies as slaves, and no one will buy. (Deut 28:68)

        Back to Egypt! The ultimate curse for the people who started out as slaves there. The exiled writer then simply reported the people’s fate at the end of 2 Kings. The Babylonian emperor appointed Gedaliah as governor of Judah. Gedaliah was assassinated. The people fled in terror of the Babylonians’ reprisal. The last sentence of the story is:
        And the entire people, from the smallest to the biggest, and the officers of the soldiers, arose and came to Egypt, because they were afraid of the Babylonians. (2 Kg 25:26)
        The exilic writer had made the new edition of the history into the story of the people of Israel from Egypt to Egypt. He had given a whole new shape and direction to the story without, apparently, deleting a word of the original edition.

        The seal impression that Avigad published is in a Hebrew script of the late seventh and early sixth century B.C. It reads:
        Ibrkyhw bn nryhw hspr
        In translation, this means “belonging to Baruch son of Neriyah the scribe.”

        Baruch is mentioned numerous times in the book of Jeremiah. He is described as writing documents for Jeremiah. And it is reported that he went into exile in Egypt with Jeremiah. (Jer 32:12,13,16; 36:4,5,8,10,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,26,27,32; 43:3,6; 45:1,2) If it is true that Baruch wrote much of the prose of the book of Jeremiah, then he would presumably be the author-editor of the Deuteronomistic history as well.

        • There is something to the Deuteronomistic School that points to the time of Josiah. BUT, some of this history was theologized (written) by those in the school (suffering in Exile)

          • True. Baruch was in exile too. Only in Egypt. All I can say – is that there was a lot of Baruch scroll writing activity at the end of Jeremiah.

            Personally, I think the key interest to me is that whoever decided to either write or edit any of it (as in Dt1 and Dt2), they decided they’d keep the previous writings in tact, instead of erasing text. Thus doublet stories everywhere in other books, that sometimes conflict.

          • that’s a good point too. The “second law” of sorts is a big Hebrew motif. We see doublets (or maybe relics of previous stories) throughout the Scriptures, not just in stories, but in lines. Maybe this goes to the “two or three witnesses” thing

    • I usually don’t read your stuff and care very little to answer it.

      on the other hand… Deuteronomy is a great topic. Moses didn’t write it. Most likely, it was composed in Exilic Babylon, perhaps by the Ezra school, or maybe a contra-Ezra school.

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