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Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins Hardcover – November 25, 2014
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
"Taking on the entire Christian canon, David Carr courageously and creatively builds upon his established skill as an interpreter of Scripture to provocatively examine the role of trauma in its creation. His striking interdisciplinary exploration is an important accomplishment."—Daniel Smith-Christopher, Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles
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It starts with a birth of scripture in old Israel, birth of Monotheism, Judah's survival history & prophets, especially Hosea's influence on Monotheism, Jerusalem's destruction & its traumatic effect on Israeli people, story of Abraham & Moses, Torah formation & its oral history, traumatic crystallization of Scripture, Christianity movement & its traumatic origin, & Gospel as we read today.
Overall "theme" is that "trauma" experienced by Jewish & Christianity movement had an everlasting effect on its longevity as a "surviving religion" today. One cannot disagree with the author's view about trauma, and his writings. Being a student of history & systematic theology, I did not find anything that I would disagree with the author's views.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read this book with an "open & curious mind".
In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I know Dr. Carr because I have been a student of his at Union. Many times when professors set out to write a book, even if the objective is not a textbook, in my experience quite often the result is a textbook. That is not the case here. This is a readable book which I recommend to anyone across a huge variety of interests.
Perhaps because it's origin is in a personal experience of Dr. Carr’s (do not skip the preface or introduction) it never drifts into academic discourse, feels like a lecture, or reads like a collection of dry dusty facts about ancient history. In fact it captures a bit of Dr. Carr’s great teaching style, glimpses of his personality show through and his deep interest in the subject stands out.
Each chapter addresses a specific issue/time period, and each chapter can be read standalone. While the book moves forward in time, this is a book you can pick up and put down without feeling like you have “lost your place”. For anyone (isn’t everyone?) who is busy this makes the book even more enjoyable. I really liked being able to take a short break from my studies, and read a chapter. Each chapter is interesting, enjoyable and in many cases surprised me.
For Students of the Bible, whether actively in school or no longer taking class, this is a must read. I wish I had read it before I began my studies at Union. Dr. Carr brings facts about the history of the Bible and in many ways of religion itself to life in ways that textbooks (at least those I have used) don't. Understanding these issues contextually the way Dr. Carr talks about them in this book significantly added (even after the fact) to what I had learned in previous Old and New Testament courses.
I was also more than pleasantly surprised to find that this book covers a broader range of subjects/time than I expected. One of the strange things about reading a Kindle book is I never really have a sense of where I am in the book. By that I mean, with a physical book when you put a bookmark in it, close it and put it down, you get a visual idea of where you and how much is left in the book. % done is just not the same. So it came as a surprise when I “opened’ (so to speak) to Chapter Nine “Christianity’s Founding Trauma”, and found that the rest of book was not Hebrew Bible centered.
Knowing that Dr. Carr is a Hebrew Bible scholar, and having heard him speak about the book before publication, I was expecting a focus primarily on the development of the Hebrew Bible and the impact of trauma on the development of the Jewish people. He covers this, but goes on to talk about Christianity, the Apostle Paul and the Gospels. These last chapters were particularly fascinating for me since they look at these subjects from a totally new perspective.
I highly recommend this book. If you have an interest in history, psychology, Judaism, biblical studies, or just want something interesting to read you will love “Holy Resilience”.