The Old Testament is seriously strange Scripture. If God had put any of us in charge of writing Scripture for billions of believers in future generations, surely we would have come up with something quite different. Evil, violence, an angry God that’s forgiving too, twisted characters, and bizarre commandments. You’re not unique avoiding to read the Old Testament on a regular basis. If you still do or dare to discover timeless truths, enter Matthew Richard Schlimm‘s This Strange and Sacred Scripture: Wrestling with the Old Testament and Its Oddities. How should you take the Old Testament? As a drill agent, math professor, judge or good friend. Schlimm’s promoting the metaphor of a good friend. One to agree and disagree with, to struggle with, have lively, ongoing conversations with, and willing to learn each other better as a lifetime commitment.
The author isn’t afraid to confront the readers with alternative views on difficult verses, themes and books in the Old Testament. Where atheists, 21st Century Marcionist take center stage to seduce people to stay away from this Testament, Schlimm’s challenging you to make a choice. Is the Old Testament an Enemy, Stranger, or Friend to the Christian faith? From troubles found in Genesis (two creation stories, literal or metaphorical reading, scientific soundness or truth for the faithful) to the R-rated content throughout the stories. Schlimm’s elaborates on the violence in the Old Testament, gender differences, many-sided truths and the importance of the written law. Can human beings be mad at God? And when does God become angry at us, believers?
Based in biblical scholarship, practical pastoral experience, and humility, Matthew Schlimm explores strategies for re-reading and appreciating the Old Testament. Yes, this ‘Old Testament’ can still enrich our lives as a friend in faith.
Many end notes and recommended resources for further study are provided in the book. Additional resources are available online at www.matthewschlimm.com.
About the author
Matthew Richard Schlimm (PhD, Duke University) is assistant professor of Old Testament at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He previously taught at Duke Divinity School and has held various ministry positions in United Methodist churches. He is the author of From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language and Ethics of Anger in Genesis and coeditor of the CEB Study Bible.