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Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament Paperback – June 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Flame of Yahweh provides a thorough discussion and perceptive theological understanding of human sexuality and gender as revealed in the Old Testament. Davidson sets before his readers the original intent and continuing ideal of sexual and gender relations as provided in the Scriptures of the OT. The Edenic ideals of human sexuality, love, and relationship are plunged into discord and disharmony, a discord and disharmony as evident on the pages of the Bible as in the daily news. In response to this disarray, Davidson demonstrates how the OT provides a renewed vision of the true and the right. Recognizing the foundational aspects of his comprehensive study for New Testament studies, the author also outlines the implications for the NT understanding of human sexuality and gender that grew out of the OT literature.
About the Author
Richard M. Davidson is J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and chair of the Old Testament department at Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
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Note: This work is built upon the presupposition of biblical inerrancy of the 66 books of Bible--God's *exclusive written* revelation to mankind. If readers of this review are unclear as to what that means or the nature of the epistemological claims, please read Professor Ronald H. Nash's excellent primer, The Word of God and the Mind of Man.
Both scholarly and conservative, Professor Davidson provides insight from the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, etc.), from the biblical Canon (Bible), and from ancient Near-Eastern source literature. The book includes and contrasts various alternative theological perspectives (liberal, feminist, postmodern, etc.). Looking back millennia, Davidson's gleaned insights are often profound.
Section 1 (80 pages) provides teleological insight into sexuality in the Garden of Eden. Section 2 (462 pages) covers sexuality outside Eden. Section 3, (87 pages) entitled “Return to Eden,” is an in-depth commentary on the OT book: Song of Songs. Section 1 (Chapters 1 & 2) entitled Sexuality in Eden: The Divine Design (Genesis 1-3) are worth the price of the entire book!!
Despite my many years as a serious student of Scripture, Flame of Yahweh has given me a deeper understanding of ancient Near Eastern culture as well as extended glimpses into the ontological mysteries of sexuality as God originally designed it. An indispensable resource for counselors and pastor/teachers. For anyone wanting or needing a graduate level, serious in-depth theological, ontological, linguistic, and philosophical exploration of sexuality, this is it!
This book is not light reading by any means, but if you seriously want to know in depth what the Old Testament has to say regarding various aspects of human sexuality this book is for you. I also appreciate how Dr. Davidson also mentions the practices of neighboring peoples providing the reader with a cultural context with which to interpret the Biblical text.
I would recommend this book.
While the primary focus is on the Old Testament, Davidson occasionally addresses the New Testament outlook and discusses application to contemporary ethical questions. Discussions with other theologians are usually carried on in the footnotes, but no less enlightening for all that. This is not a complete Christian theology of sexuality, but it is a necessary building block for any such effort.
The book would probably have benefited from a better editing job, as it is frequently somewhat repetitive. This does make it more useful as a reference source, however, as you don't have to read the whole thing to pick up every nuance of the topic you're investigating.
Highly recommended for those interested in the history of sexuality, the theology of sexuality, contemporary pastoral issues, gender history, and the social history of ancient Judaism