Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-05-09
- Reviewer: Staff
In this welcome analysis of what he calls the "bad reputation" of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, biblical scholar Lamb (Righteous Jehu and His Evil Heirs) confronts head-on scriptural passages from which readers have drawn negative conclusions about Yahweh's nature. Addressing arguments and examples that buttress atheists' "anti-God sentiment" and prompt Christians to distinguish between Yahweh and the New Testament's Jesus, Lamb wrestles with texts that portray Yahweh as arbitrary and violent. He examines their literary, biblical, and cultural contexts, and explores ways that contradictory images "can be faithfully reconciled without downplaying the tensions." Thoughtfully explicating troubling passages, such as Yahweh smiting Uzzah for touching the Ark or Lot offering his daughters to be raped, Lamb cites cross-cultural comparisons and offers analogies (for example, he equates the Ark's danger potential with plutonium, necessitating rules for handling). While emphasizing the overarching witness of the Bible that God is "slow to anger," Lamb encourages readers to probe disturbing passages with an open mind, read feminist theologians, and engage in prayerful conversation. Some analyses prove more compelling than others; nevertheless, this book will challenge, comfort, and provoke reflection. (June)