A Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar looks at the Bible and culture…


Challenging Prophetic Metaphor

book coverThe prophets of the Old Testament use a wide variety of metaphors to describe God. Some of these metaphors are familiar and soothing; others are unfamiliar and confusing. Still others portray God in ways that are difficult and uncomfortable: God as abusive husband or as neglectful father, for instance. Julia O’Brien searches the Prophetic Books for these metaphors, looking for ways that these images intersect and build off one another. When confronted with disturbing metaphors, she deals with them unflinchingly, providing a sharp critique and evaluation of their predominant interpretations. Attending to the possible uses of these metaphors in the church (for good or ill), O’Brien points us toward new ways to read these theological metaphors for a just faith today.

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Invitation to Psalms

book coverThe human emotions expressed in the Book of Psalms rise to peaks of joy and descend into valleys of despair. In the Psalms, the promise of the reign of God meets the historical experience of God’s people. Faith in God’s faithfulness collides with human experiences of pain and suffering, enslavement, oppression, and exile. God’s people–given voice in the Psalms–struggle to make sense of who God is and who they are, and in so doing they have composed a collection of moving testimonies of grace, glory, sorrow, and beauty unmatched in sacred literature. For students of the Psalms today, this study offers greater understanding of how these ancient texts of praise, lament, worship, and prayer can still speak to us and for us.

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Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

book coverThe Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries provide compact, critical commentaries on the book sof the Old Testament for the use of theological students and pastors. The commentaries are also useful for upper-level college or university students and for those responsible for teaching in congregational settings. In addition to providing basic information and insights into the Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful interpretation, to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed and critical engagement with the biblical texts themselves.

The six books found at the close of the Minor Prophets (Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) present distinctive understandings of God, humanity, and the future. This commentary engages those understandings, considers what the books may have meant in the past, and describes how they resonate with contemporary readers. With attention to issues of gender, violence, and inclusivity, O’Brien explores the ethical challenges of the books and asks how faithful readers can both acknowledge the problems these biblical books raise and appreciate their value for contemporary theological reflection.

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Nahum (First Edition)

book coverIn its wanton celebration of violence, the book of Nahum poses ethical challenges to the modern reader. O’Brien offers the first full-scale engagement with this dimension of the book, exploring the ways in which the artfulness of its poetry serves the book’s violent ideology, highlighting how its rhetoric attempts to render the Other fit for annihilation. She then reads from feminist, intertextual and deconstructionist angles and uncovers the destabilizing function of the book’s aesthetics. Finally, she demonstrates how mining Nahum’s ambiguities and tensions can contribute to an ethical response to its violence.

The Yahweh/Baal Confrontation and Other Studies in Biblical Literature and Archaeology: Essays in Honor of Emmett Willard Hamrick

Essays in this volume include: “When Religions Collide: The Yahweh/Baal Confrontation”, Lawrence E. Toombs; “Isaiah 40-55: A New Creation, A New Exodus, A New Messiah”, John I. Durham; “Historical Inquiry as Liberator and Master: Malachi As A Post-Exilic Document”, Julia M. O’Brien; “Problems of The Semitic Background of The New Testament”, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J.; “Tell El-Hesi: What’s in A Name?” Jeffrey A. Blakely and Fred L. Horton, Jr.; “Bathing in the Face of the Enemy: A Late Byzantine Bath Complex in Field E Of The Joint Expedition To Caesarea Maritima”, Fred L. Horton, Jr.