Davis, Ellen F. Opening Israel's Scriptures

ISBN 13: 9780190948948

Opening Israel's Scriptures

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Opening Israel's Scriptures is a collection of thirty-six essays on the Hebrew Bible, from Genesis to Chronicles, which gives powerful insight into the complexity and inexhaustibility of the Hebrew Scriptures as a theological resource. Based on more than two decades of lectures on Old Testament interpretation, Ellen F. Davis offers a selective yet comprehensive guide to the core concepts, literary patterns, storylines, and theological perspectives that are central to Israel's Scriptures. Underlying the whole study is the primary assumption that each book of the canon has literary and theological coherence, though not uniformity.

In both her close readings of individual texts and in her broad demonstrations of the coherence of whole books, Davis models the best practices of contemporary exegesis, integrating the insights of contemporary scholars with those of classical theological resources in Jewish and Christian traditions. Throughout, she keeps an eye to the experiences and concerns of contemporary readers, showing through multiple examples that the critical interpretation of texts is provisional, open-ended work―a collaboration across generations and cultures. Ultimately what she offers is an invitation into the more spacious world that the Bible discloses, which challenges ordinary conceptions of how things "really" are.

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Review:

The entirety of the Hebrew Bible presented compellingly, edifyingly, with hermeneutical brilliance ― what an achievement! My seminarians and I have pined for this sort of sweeping illumination of the artistry, joy, tears, and formative power of Israel's Scriptures. We are eager to emulate Davis's attunement to the inner dialogs of Scripture, her habits of relentless rumination on troubling texts, and her engagement with fascinating and diverse reading partners, ranging from premodern rabbis to modern African church leaders. (Stephen L. Cook, author of Ezekiel 38-48)

Over the course of her distinguished career, Ellen Davis has consistently shown us how to read the Bible as it deserves and demands to be read ― slowly, carefully, lovingly, with openness of both heart and mind. Opening Israel's Scriptures is a treasure, at once literarily astute, theologically profound, and spiritually uplifting. It is positively studded with arresting insights, enabling us to see old texts with new eyes. Davis writes in a distinctively Christian yet wholeheartedly inclusive voice, eager to learn with and from others. A beautiful book to be read, re-read, and cherished. (Rabbi Shai Held, author of The Heart of Torah: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion)

Ellen Davis gives us rich food for stimulating reflection on every page. She combines her profound understanding of the Hebrew text and its world with the illuminating experience of teaching it in other cultural communities such as women in South Sudan, and brings the Scriptures into sharp engagement with contemporary social realities and personal faith. Even points of disagreement will leave a reader enriched with challenging fresh insights. (Christopher J. H. Wright, author of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God)

About the Author:

Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University. She has previously held positions at Union Theological Seminary, Yale University, and Virginia Theological Seminary. She is a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion and the author of Preaching the Luminous Word, Biblical Prophecy, and Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: an Agrarian Reading of the Bible.

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