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Unlike all the surrounding nations, which were rampantly polytheistic, the Hebrews were staunchly monotheistic. The gods of the pagan mythologies were created in the image of mankind, saw man as their slaves, and often behaved no better than humans themselves. By contrast, the God of the Hebrews created man in his image, values mankind as essential to the universe, and is the one who wills, initiates, and acts rightly The similarities are so striking and numerous that Currid says it cannot be mere chance; rather, he argues that the biblical authors deliberately paralleled key elements of pagan religions not only to expose the false nature of the pagan gods and reveal the true God, Yahweh, but to mock and humiliate them as inferior impostors, revealing the Hebrew religion to be ultimately superior.

Thus, the biblical author shows through polemic that the one true God, Yahweh, triumphs and rules over the Egyptian false gods and the entire universe Currid presents a wealth of ancient Near East texts and accounts of biblical parallels in this work, explaining the polemical significance of each example.


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He gives a thorough introduction to polemical theology and makes a convincing case for viewing the Old Testament through a polemical lens as a means of gaining deeper insight and understanding. However, although he alludes to it, he does not contend that the source of cultural and religious commonalities is a common origin, that because Yahweh created all mankind, it is natural to understand how similar accounts would be passed down through generations, and then God set the record straight in his revelation of himself to the Hebrews. Instead, he puts the weight of responsibility on the choices of the biblical authors drawing parallels, rather than God himself choosing to reveal himself in parallels to show his ultimate superiority.

But perhaps Currid avoids this argument intentionally to limit his book to contrasting biblical writers with other pagan writers of the ancient Near East, emphasizing the reasons for the similarities. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. The Domain for Truth.

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Feeds: Posts Comments. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Review: Bible Infographics for Kids. No Laptop today and appreciation for technology. Longing for God's Word. Bible Contradiction? For those who wonder how the Old Testament can be reconciled with other Ancient Near Eastern texts, this is the book that will help you begin to think about such things with an eye toward upholding the One God of scripture over all the false gods of this world.

Sep 04, Jimmy rated it it was amazing. Have you ever heard people assert that the Old Testament is merely plagiarism of ancient pagan religion or that the authors of Scripture indiscriminately borrowed from the heathens? This book helps the Christian navigate through such questions and challenges. For starters who might need to be caught up to speed, chapter one gives a nice survey of the history of the study of the Ancient Near East painting a portrait of how these studies originated and its trajectory since.

After delineating what polemical theology means in chapter two, the bulk of this book is an examination of the data from ANE sources and the application of Polemical theology. For instance, chapter three concentrate on Genesis 1. Currid is fair: He acknowledges parallels, documents it well but he always argue that the differences are significant, since it is at the level of worldview and theology.

The differences are not incidental—the polemical and at times poetical jabs that the Old Testament makes shows these differences are intentional on the part of the writers of the Bible. I highly recommend this book. Oct 15, Mathew rated it it was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed Against the Gods. It really hit the sweet spot for me with just the right mixture of easy to read, practical theology and scholarly background on the culture in the ancient Near East ANE. John will introduce you to ANE culture and shed light on how we should interpret the Old Testament in light of the growing history, literature, and background in the field of ANE studies.

John argues I thoroughly enjoyed Against the Gods. John argues many of the parallels scholars find in the ANE literature and the Old Testament point not towards strict borrowing but demonstrate the polemic nature of the Old Testament. John then walks through major Old Testament stories which have counterparts indirectly or directly in the ancient Near Eastern literature. I was riveted while reading through these accounts and amazed at the creative way God undermines the nations surrounding His people.

You cannot understand the New Exodus in the gospel without understand the original Exodus in the Old Testament and the story of Israel. I hope to see more on this topic from John Currid in the future. Do you find reading through the Old Testament boring? Are the customs and culture in the Old Testament confusing and foreign?

What has been helpful in making the Old Testament come alive? Sep 25, Jacob O'connor rated it really liked it.

Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament

Anyone who has seen the Internet movie Zeitgeist will be familiar with the subject matter of this book. In Zeitgeist, the charge is made that the Bible cannot be trusted because it stole one of its central stories - the global flood. When I first saw Zeitgeist, I had been down this road before. On one hand, what is really the big dea Anyone who has seen the Internet movie Zeitgeist will be familiar with the subject matter of this book. On one hand, what is really the big deal? For me, it is ludicrous to suggest that if multiple ancient sources cite a universal deluge that must mean it never happened.

That would be like four people telling you that your wife is cheating on you, and you conclude that your wife is faithful because there must be some kind of conspiracy. Your third grade Sunday school teacher didn't tell you about the Epic of Gilgamesh as if she knew , so you make certain assumptions about your favorite Bible stories. It can be jarring to have those assumptions squelched.

AGAINST THE GODS: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament

Not a lot of apologetic training at your local church. This was to show them up. I think Currid has the right answer. Sep 08, Nancy rated it really liked it. The question becomes important for the understanding of the Old Testament. Currid makes the case that the myths apparently stem from the same root, but where the pagan myths recount the adventures of a plethora of Gods, the Old Testament focuses the stories The Relationship Between the Bible and Near Eastern Myths As archaeologist have uncovered more and more of the Near Easter Civilization: Egypt, Babylon and Canaan; Bible stories have been found to resemble the myths and stories of the region.

Currid makes the case that the myths apparently stem from the same root, but where the pagan myths recount the adventures of a plethora of Gods, the Old Testament focuses the stories on the one God. In fact, he goes so far as to say that the way the stories are written is turns the pagan's beliefs against them. He also makes a good case that while the pagans wrote the stories as myths, the Old Testament writers present them as history. This is an excellent book for providing a basic understanding of the similarities of literature in the ancient Near East.

It's a short book, easy to read, and filled with engaging examples. I enjoyed the book very much. However, I found that making the same argument in relation to each of the stories, while interesting, didn't always provide a lot of new information. It rather made the same point in a number of different contexts. The similarities between the Old Testament and other Near Eastern myths can't be denied and it has led some people to question whether the Old Testament was inspired by God, or whether it is a borrowed collection of old stories. I believe Currid has made a good case for the Old Testament being different from the other myths of the Near East.

I reviewed this book for Crossway. Dec 30, Jason rated it really liked it. After spending a great deal of time in the Biblical Exegesis program alongside Dr. Bottom line is, the Old Testament was not written in a vacuum. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. Jan 14, E rated it it was ok.

File this under "gravely disappointing. Crack open a major prophet and you won't have to read very far to find a subtle polemic against one or another ANE false god. But Currid barely skims the surface. He reviews a few parallels between Pentateuchal narratives and those of surrounding cultures mostly Egypt. He spends most of the time summarizing these pagan narratives, highlighting their similarities with the Biblical text, before File this under "gravely disappointing.

He spends most of the time summarizing these pagan narratives, highlighting their similarities with the Biblical text, before concluding each paragraph with a tepid, "Should we believe the Bible is borrowing from surrounding culture. Ahh, let's not. Instead let's assume the Bible is challenging these false narratives because. And I use the verb "assume" intentionally. By being so flippant, we merely call into question the truths that we believe.

Do I believe the Bible is not borrowing but, rather, polemicizing? Of course I do! But not merely because Currid says so.

Review: Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament by John D Currid

To properly discuss and defend this idea would require. Aug 30, Michael Philliber rated it really liked it. John Currid was a seminary professor of mine. I was delighted to pick up this book and read much of what he had tried to get into our heads during classes nearly 15 years ago. The simple premise of the book is in the subtitle: The polemical theology of the Old Testament.

The rest of the book is chock full of examples of parallels between ANE literature and the Bible.

He examines the connectio John Currid was a seminary professor of mine. He then challenges the reigning view that the Bible is simply plagiarizing and cleaning of ANE texts. It is also a good apologetic work. It's perfect for seminarians and pastors, but useful for the studious layman who is looking for help.

I recommend the book. Jan 17, Andrew rated it it was amazing Shelves: old-testament-studies.

The Nature of Polemical Thought and Writingby John D. Currid

This book provides a balanced and biblical response to how the Old Testament uses ANE Ancient Near Eastern material as a polemic to demonstrate the supremacy of the true God of Scripture in comparison to the surrounding polytheistic religions of the Ancient Near East.

This is a much needed book when many scholars unfortunately are willing to accept the status quo that the Old Testament plagiarized from other sources due to their parallels, but they fail to focus on the importance of the differ This book provides a balanced and biblical response to how the Old Testament uses ANE Ancient Near Eastern material as a polemic to demonstrate the supremacy of the true God of Scripture in comparison to the surrounding polytheistic religions of the Ancient Near East.

This is a much needed book when many scholars unfortunately are willing to accept the status quo that the Old Testament plagiarized from other sources due to their parallels, but they fail to focus on the importance of the differences and contrasts, which is essential in Dr. Currid's analysis.

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This is a useful introduction to the topic to both laypeople and bible students alike, and it also affirms that Paul's presuppositional apologetic methodology was directly derived from the apologetic methodology of the Old Testament prophets themselves. A useful concise reference for Old Testament background information. May 26, Brandon Wilkins rated it really liked it.

This is a nice study examining the parallels between ancient near Eastern religions and the Old Testament. Currid argues for a different lens of interpretation, that of polemical theology. The OT borrows This is a nice study examining the parallels between ancient near Eastern religions and the Old Testament.

By doing this, the OT shows that there is no God like the Lord. This is a good introductory level treatment. Good for laity and clergy alike. Jan 08, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: kindle , read-in Clear elucidation of points well taken: much of the so-called parallels between the Old Testament and other Ancient Near Eastern literature are not "borrowing" but actual polemic designed to ridicule or undermine elements of surrounding pagan worldviews.

Currid's style, however, is very repetitive, and he often overreaches in attempts to belabour a point. This makes the book more useful for dipping into one example or another, but something of a bore for one who reads it all the way through. Apr 13, Mark A Powell rated it really liked it.

"The Meanings of History: Event and Interpretation in the Bible and Theology" (N.T. Wright)

Polemics are arguments that establish one position at the expense of a contrary position, and the Bible is full of this kind of discourse. Here, Currid offers an introductory look at how parallels with ancient Near Eastern literature reveal the polemical approach of Old Testament authors. Keeping the limitations of primers in mind, Currid admirably demonstrates how Old Testament writers exposed the illusion of false gods and highlighted the supreme power of the one true God.

Mar 05, Ian Hammond rated it liked it. Currid gave several example of similarities between the Bible and other ANE literature. Each time he would contrast them with the same three points at the end of each chapter. He then would argue for a polemical intention behind these similarities some times more convincingly than others. This book was helpful but left me with a lot of unresolved questions.

Feb 08, Godly rated it really liked it. This is an excellent intro to the concept of 'Polemical Theology' and John shows how the OT at times while seeming to borrow from Near Eastern literature is in fact critiquing and repudiating them.