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Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament [Kindle Edition]

Ellen F. Davis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“This is a book about getting, and staying, involved with God—what it takes, what it costs, what it looks and feels like, why anyone would want to do it anyway. It is at the same time a book about reading the Old Testament as a source of Good News and guidance for our life with God. The key piece of Good News that the Old Testament communicates over and over again is that God is involved with us, deeply and irrevocably so.”
—from the Introduction

With sound scholarship and her own vivid translations from the Hebrew, Old Testament professor Ellen Davis teaches us a spiritually engaged method of reading scripture. Beginning with the psalms, whose frank prayers can be a model for our own, Davis reflects on the stories of the patriarchs and the pastoral wisdom of the book of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs in helping us cultivate those habits of the heart that lead to a rich relationship with God.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Ellen Davis continues the core task of biblical exposition for the sake of the church. . . . Through it all Ellen Davis utilizes her considerable gifts of sensitivity to the text, attentiveness to the spirit at work in the text, and care for the church that it may grow closer to the God given in the text. Of special interest to me was her fresh reading of the Song of Solomon, which offers ‘the ecstatic aspect of the love that is the main subject of the whole Bible.’ Readers will dip in at any point in this book and be invited to thinking and praying again and obeying differently and freely. (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary)

Ellen Davis’ work in this dazzling book can be compared to that of an exceptional rock climber putting up new routes on the world’s most challenging walls. Combining ease with skill and nerve with artistry, she tackles some of the most difficult portions of the Old Testament. Professor Davis is working on the razor’s edge of current hermeneutical practice, but she knows exactly how to speak to the ordinary Christian in a sparkling prose style. If you want to be up to date on the very latest developments in postmodern biblical interpretation and at the same time be thrilled and delighted with rich insights into the life of faith, this is the book to have right now. (Fleming Rutledge)

Ellen Davis has recovered a long-lost theological genre: brilliant, probing, scholarly interpretation of the Bible that flows into proclamation and challenges us to return to the text itself in a continuing engagement with the God who shares our pain. (Brevard S. Childs)

About the Author

ELLEN F. DAVIS is Associate Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. She has previously taught at Union Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. Her other books include a theological commentary on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, and Imagination Shaped: Old Testament Preaching in the Anglican Tradition.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh insight into the OT March 1, 2002
Format:Paperback
Dr. Davis' book is not an exhaustive commentary, but a series of reflections on selected texts of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is an excellent source for delving into the wisdom of the Old Testament for both novices and the learned. While written from the perspective of a believing Christian, her commentary is heavily influenced by her extensive experience in dialog with Rabbinic Judaism and its texts. Especially intriguing is her commentary on the Ecological Crisis and the imperatives found in the Scriptures to act as good stewards of the land.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Involved with God January 5, 2007
Format:Paperback
Davis does an outstanding job shedding light on tough passages from the Old Testament such as the Binding of Isaac and the cursing psalms. Through impressive scholarship (she does all of her own Biblical translations), she reveals a story of God's quest to have a relationship with humankind - as captured by the Old Testament. Well worth reading.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging writing that connects the reader to the OT April 19, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In a very personal and engaging way, Ellen Davis challenges misconceptions about the Old Testament and successfully prods the reader to participate in a spiritually engaged reading of the Old Testament.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Christian should read this book. December 15, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been called an Old Testament Christian before, so it's not likely a surprise that I would like this book. But Ellen Davis does something special and unexpected here, because I don't agree with her on a number of points. Still, this book gave me a view of a facet of the diamond that is the Gospel that, frankly, I'd never seen.

The book is divided into five sections: the Psalms, Love, Wisdom, Disciplines of the Heart and Ecotheology.

Here are some things that opened Scripture up for me through this book:
1. How can we reconcile those hard Psalms--the ones that pray for the destruction of our enemies? Davis reminds us that the Psalms "are undisgussedly human utterances (pg. 9)." While the rest of the Bible is formatted as God's Word/message to us, the Psalms are our imperfect prayer to God--God's Word THROUGH us. And as imperfect beings, harshness shows through. When pressure from the outside mounts, then the Psalmist leans in with "cries of anguish and rage [that] would seem to violate all the rules for Christian prayer." (pg. 14) Davis points out that this truth of heart to God is the first step toward praise. The answer I loved here is this idea that these Psalms show real-time conversion back to the heart and mindset of God. The Psalmist almost always comes out a different door than he went in.

"The point of the shocking psalms is not to sanctify what is shameful (for example, the desire for sweet revenge) or to make us feel better about parts of ourselves that stand in need of change. Rather, the Psalms teach us that profound change happens always in the presence of God. " (pg. 5)

"So the Psalms call for honest speech, but honesty is not everything in an intimate relationship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Buy January 1, 2013
By kstove
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ellen Davis does a wonderful job engaging modern Christians with the God of the Old Testament. This book not only does a great job explaining facets of the Old Testament and brings new light to the words of the OT, it also helps demonstrate the continuity of the God of the OT and God as seen in the NT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baffled by the Old Testament? Start here... September 6, 2012
By tim
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a really good book that contains excellent scholarship yet attempts to do more than engage the reader intellectually. This work attempts to move people to action, through the matrix of Old Testament studies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For serious readers July 18, 2012
By PauliG
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After I heard the author speak on NPR, I couldn't find this book at my local library, so I finally ordered it. I'm glad I did, and will pass it on to other serious Christian friends. It is based on a series of sermons or lessons by an Episcopal clergywoman. She comments on the Psalms, both joyful and lamenting, emphasizing the tradition prayer and of of turning to God in all seasons, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Job. She affrms the earth and connection to it as live-giving. As an environmental advocate, I agree with her point of view; but she does present what are inconvenient truths for some.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a little too broad March 31, 2011
By JSM
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a bible study class in 2009 and found it to be interesting and easy to follow... a little too easy as a matter of fact. I would have liked it if Prof. Davis had gotten a little more in-depth on some of the topics. I realize she was probably writing this book for a wide audience, but I wish she had had more of a mind towards an intellectual crowd as I often found the essays ending just as she was getting to the most interesting points. Maybe I'll have to track down some of her other work for that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A new and different take on the Old Testament
Ellen Davis has stopped me and made me think through several Old Testament books so far and I'm far from done with the books at this point.
Published 1 month ago by David WIERDA
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous readings on the OT
One of the best academic works on the OT to bridge the heart and mind, grace and truth. A moving and profound work!
Published 2 months ago by Kris Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!!
Terrific book. It was part a group of assigned texts for a graduate OT class. However, don't let that discourage you, if you're a lay person, from reading it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cindy Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable and clear
Well-written, conversational tone; very upbeat and well-argued. Purchased for the sections on the Pslms, which starts the book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by John E. Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Our Adult Formation group liked this alot!
We used this book in our fall Adult Formation class--(Episcopal church) and it was pretty unanimous that we all liked it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by J. Ensley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Such a fantastic read - Davis pushes you out of your comfort zone and redefines what it means to get involved with God. Read more
Published 10 months ago by R. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Look at the Old Testament
This book provides a new and interesting way to approach the Old Testament. I have only read part of the book and am in a discussion group reading it and everyone in the group... Read more
Published 12 months ago by peaches & cream
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual, Pastoral Scholarship
I read this book for a seminary class. Ellen Davis does a beautiful job of illustrating the profound human, emotive, cognitive power of books, stories, and themes in the Old... Read more
Published 20 months ago by AliV
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
Have not yet finished it but seems a bit dry, may get into it later. it was required reading for a class.
Published 21 months ago by DW
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