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Spirit & Reason: The Embodied Character of Ezekiel's Symbolic Thinking Paperback – October 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"In this ambitious project, Launderville draws out a wealth of fascinating information about the Mesopotamian and pre-Socratic Greek traditions, and puts them into conversation with Ezekiel. His cross-cultural approach to Ezekiel's use of symbolic language to make meaning is a most welcome addition to the scholarship on this prophetic book."―Jacqueline Lapsley, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Launderville has examined a remarkable selection of Ancient Near Eastern and Greek literature and addressed issues that lie outside typical monographs devoted to that prophet. I know no other scholar who has the capacity to work with this scope."―David Petersen, Professor of New Testament, Candler School of Theology at Emory University

About the Author

Dale F. Launderville (Ph.D. The Catholic University of America) is Associate Professor of Theology at St. John's School of Theology-Seminary.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602580057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602580053
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,416,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
A masterfully put together, meticulously researched, if not wholly convincingly argued exegesis of the basic themes of the book of Ezekiel, particularly their relation to the nature of reason and spirit and the presence of the Israelite community. Launderville states, "A central argument of this study is that Ezekiel tried to persuade his rebellious exilic audience to get a new heart and spirit (18:30-31) in order to gain a new standing place from which to understand the rationality of Yhwh's governance of history." Launderville traces the idea of symbol as a participation in a reality beyond itself (using Tillich and Rahner in particular), arguing that Ezekiel was counseling a new understanding of the world as an embodied reality of God's transcendent spirit, which would transform Israel into an embodied symbol of God in the world. Most impressive is Launderville's comparison and contrast of the embodied community for which Yhwh calls with the Ancient Near Eastern and early Greek understandings of reason, spirit, and the nature of the political state - the latter explicitly at odds with God's call for a community characterized by peace, justice, and a lack of a mercantile class system. The sheer amount of research that backs up these comparisons is well-summarized, well-written, and staggering in its depth and breadth.

Launderville still seems to insist at some points that rationality is the most effective way to reach an understanding of God's will - but this claim is well-tempered by his equal insistence that the Biblical witness requires embodiment to be an integral part of reason.
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A very deep book that takes you to unique places surrounding the prophet Ezekiel. If you are looking for an academic approach to the Word of God this books will help. The Spirit is in the writing of the book though and it has much in it that you can gleam and glow from.
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